Sam Robson March 20, 2014

'I'm fun, friendly and easy-going'

England hopeful Sam Robson talks about being an Australian in England, being compared to Athers, and more
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You have been tipped for an England call-up this summer. How do you feel when you hear that?
It's good when people say nice things about you but I haven't played much attention to the call-up talk. My focus is just to score runs for Middlesex and that's my sole aim. There may well be a number of guys ahead of me at the moment, so I don't get too bothered about it.

A few years ago you were a leggie who batted at No. 8. What happened?
I was always a batter in my own age group, but for a couple of years - when I was 15, 16 or 17 - my leggies took over when I playing with the men. It is a little bit of a myth that people have played on a little bit as in my own age group I've always been a batter.

Do you enjoy bowling?
I love it in the nets. I'm always keen to bowl a few dodgy leggies but I don't get called upon too often in games. I bowl too many fullies and rank half-trackers.

When the big decision came, you chose England - not Australia. Tell us why.
I'm in my seventh year in England and I love playing cricket here. I got an opportunity and it's where I have played all of my professional cricket. I live here, this is where I'm settled, and this is where I enjoy being. It all happened pretty quickly. I came over to England to play as much cricket as I can and that's still my thing. I didn't really think too much about it, because I love living in London.

What is the best thing about London?
That I can jump on a tube from where I live and within ten minutes I can be in one of the best cities in the world.

In seven games for the England sides over the winter, you scored five centuries. Did that return exceed even your own ambitions?
Yes and no. I try to go out and play, and as a batsman you just have to be confident and do the right things in training. It's just about watching the ball and doing your best and thankfully things went well. I don't set big goals. Look, it was pleasing, but I haven't given it too much thought.

You have been likened to Michael Atherton. Discuss.
I don't really think too much about that. If I could do anything like he ever did, it'd be outstanding. But I just try and play my way and score as many runs as I can for Middlesex.

A fair share of your time at the crease has been spent with Chris Rogers. What have you learned from him?
To be well-organised, determined and hungry to do well every time you come to the middle.

You have lived in London and Sydney. Where is better for a night out?
London, definitely.

How old were you when you struck your first century?
I was 13 and it was for the local club side back in Australia. I think it was a 30- or 40-over match.

What is the single best thing about the Lord's food?
The steak and chips with a beer after a win, early on the third or fourth day.

Which of your team-mates fills his plate the highest?
Tim Murtagh. He tries to eat as much as he can, whenever he can.

If Middlesex did an IQ test, who would come out on top?
James Harris.

And who would be at the bottom?
Ollie Rayner.

Describe yourself in three words.
Fun, friendly and easy-going.

Which of your team-mates has the worst taste in music?
Gareth Berg. He listens to grunge.

Who spends the most time in front of the mirror?
Steven Finn.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | March 25, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Salazaar555 - Have you read what you have just written? Atherton wasn't very good because he got out to Donald and McGrath a lot??? Possibly the (unwittingly) funniest comment of all time!

  • POSTED BY on | March 24, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    These rules on limiting players to where they are born are legally unenforceable, players would sue due to restriction of their trade.

    You have to let players represent which ever nation they feel attached to and accept that there will be some level of mercenary conduct. After all not all international contracts are equal, Chris Gayle will earn a fraction of what Shane Watson will from international cricket.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | March 21, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    I hope he's better the Atherton! Atherton was actually a poor opener playing in a time when England were at their worst. I lost count of the times Donald and McGrath got rid of him for next to nothing

    England need something because they absolutely stink at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Matt.au on | March 21, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    @Jimmy Breen You said "Should he be forced to pay a development fee for being a turncoat? Maybe :)"

    That is an interesting question. Perhaps it should be "Should England be forced to pay a transfer fee?"

    I think the player needn't pay but a 'poaching country' should pay - lets call it a transfer fee. If it was set @ US20,000 that is afternoon tea money for a body like the ECB.

    Keeping the transfer fee reasonably low means the ECB wouldn't baulk at it.

    If the junior clubs of transferred players were to recieve the transfer money, and they should, it would mean the world to them. Peanuts for the ECB, club changing for the junior club.

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | March 21, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    @Jimmy Breen - Even if your idea is legally unenforceable, which I would guess it isn't, it doesn't necessarily solve the problem - any country's board could easily pay the fee on the player's behalf. To me, the solution lies in re-writing the ICC regulations so that any player who represents a country at u19 level is ineligible to represent any other country.

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2014, 23:17 GMT

    @Ben Bradley - How about you look at it this way: The Australian system has put quite a bit of time and money into growing the talent of local juniors and players of every sport (just as any other country has). Some have estimated that players consume over $10,000 of funding in their developmental years coming through the ranks. The only reward at the end of the day is improving the quality of Australian players when they reach the international level. So should Sam be forced to play for Australia if he doesn't want to? No. Should he be forced to pay a development fee for being a turncoat? Maybe :)

  • POSTED BY UndertheGrill on | March 20, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    I hope England pick him regardless of any actual ability, as it'd be worth it just to read all the apoplectic reaction on the message boards from everyone who still seems to think that migration is a dirty word.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 20, 2014, 22:32 GMT

    The great Alan Mullaly and Darren Pattinson would be proud.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 20, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    If you score your first century for a Sydney club side at 13 maybe you shouldn't be playing for England?

  • POSTED BY skilebow on | March 20, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    As someone born with parents of different nationalities I get annoyed by this. It is completely possible to feel as though u come from both. Get over it

  • POSTED BY on | March 25, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Salazaar555 - Have you read what you have just written? Atherton wasn't very good because he got out to Donald and McGrath a lot??? Possibly the (unwittingly) funniest comment of all time!

  • POSTED BY on | March 24, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    These rules on limiting players to where they are born are legally unenforceable, players would sue due to restriction of their trade.

    You have to let players represent which ever nation they feel attached to and accept that there will be some level of mercenary conduct. After all not all international contracts are equal, Chris Gayle will earn a fraction of what Shane Watson will from international cricket.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | March 21, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    I hope he's better the Atherton! Atherton was actually a poor opener playing in a time when England were at their worst. I lost count of the times Donald and McGrath got rid of him for next to nothing

    England need something because they absolutely stink at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Matt.au on | March 21, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    @Jimmy Breen You said "Should he be forced to pay a development fee for being a turncoat? Maybe :)"

    That is an interesting question. Perhaps it should be "Should England be forced to pay a transfer fee?"

    I think the player needn't pay but a 'poaching country' should pay - lets call it a transfer fee. If it was set @ US20,000 that is afternoon tea money for a body like the ECB.

    Keeping the transfer fee reasonably low means the ECB wouldn't baulk at it.

    If the junior clubs of transferred players were to recieve the transfer money, and they should, it would mean the world to them. Peanuts for the ECB, club changing for the junior club.

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | March 21, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    @Jimmy Breen - Even if your idea is legally unenforceable, which I would guess it isn't, it doesn't necessarily solve the problem - any country's board could easily pay the fee on the player's behalf. To me, the solution lies in re-writing the ICC regulations so that any player who represents a country at u19 level is ineligible to represent any other country.

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2014, 23:17 GMT

    @Ben Bradley - How about you look at it this way: The Australian system has put quite a bit of time and money into growing the talent of local juniors and players of every sport (just as any other country has). Some have estimated that players consume over $10,000 of funding in their developmental years coming through the ranks. The only reward at the end of the day is improving the quality of Australian players when they reach the international level. So should Sam be forced to play for Australia if he doesn't want to? No. Should he be forced to pay a development fee for being a turncoat? Maybe :)

  • POSTED BY UndertheGrill on | March 20, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    I hope England pick him regardless of any actual ability, as it'd be worth it just to read all the apoplectic reaction on the message boards from everyone who still seems to think that migration is a dirty word.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 20, 2014, 22:32 GMT

    The great Alan Mullaly and Darren Pattinson would be proud.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 20, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    If you score your first century for a Sydney club side at 13 maybe you shouldn't be playing for England?

  • POSTED BY skilebow on | March 20, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    As someone born with parents of different nationalities I get annoyed by this. It is completely possible to feel as though u come from both. Get over it

  • POSTED BY markatnotts on | March 20, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    Well said nursery_ender, unfortunately you can't have reasonable intelligent discussion on these comments boards. It is appalling some of the inaccuracy of some comments posted.

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 20, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    Posted by Bryand on (March 20, 2014, 8:28 GMT) ...Eligibility via parentage must be abolished.

    Rather simplistic, don't you think? Take the example of Ollie Rayner, born in Germany while his father was based there on military service. He's been British since birth: are you really saying he shouldn't be eligible for England? Would you say John McEnroe should have played Davis Cup tennis for Germany?

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 20, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    Posted by Brenson on (March 20, 2014, 5:12 GMT) England are a joke. Why not just call them the International XI and then they can pick whoever they want? It's more apt then calling themselves 'England' when half their team aren't even from there.

    I find this whole argument very boring. International sports teams have always been based on a mix of residence and nationality. That's why the Australian and New Zealand rugby teams are full of Fijians, Tongans and Samoans who have moved over. Or why the Australian side in the first ever test contained three players born in England and one born in India.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 20, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    ECB must moved there scouts from SA to OZ.

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | March 20, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    It is his choice I guess. Not an ideal one as we'd all like people to be born and bred in the country they play for but we live in a different world these days and people migrate. We must stop being so inward looking. Haven't the last two PMs of Australia been born in the UK? Equally, a host of Aussie Union players, Olympians, boxers and bands (ACDC, Crowded House etc) were not born in Aus. If he chooses England over Aus, doesn't that say something about Aus? I lived in Australia and the only thing I preferred was the weather: it is individual choice isn't it? I experienced the same overly nationalist anti-anywhere sentiment when I was there. Perhaps Australians should be more open to those that come to live in their land? I mean isn't it 40% of Aussies were not born in Australia?

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | March 20, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    @Bryand excellent commment. " If a first class player holds dual citizenship they must nominate a country to the ICC before playing their first first class game" is a great suggestion.

    Some very naive comments referring to "international XI". So I assume you guys think that birth-place is the only factor allowed in deciding a person's nationality. Makes perfect sense. While I think certain players' qualification for England is just wrong- such as the morally repugnant poaching of Rankin- others who have British parents or who have spent part of their childhood/teenage years here certainly shoud be allowed to play. Ben Stokes for example arguably has more right to be British than to play for NewZealand, where he was born, because he came here aged 12, and his accent and actions (on-field pugnaciousness eg) show him to be a Geordie.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | March 20, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    @Meety: He is now, he scores hundreds for fun.

  • POSTED BY Bryand on | March 20, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    It time the ICC modified eligibility rules. A player should only be eligible to play for one country at any point in time. This should be determined on the citizenship that he or she holds. If a first class player holds dual citizenship they must nominate a country to the ICC before playing their first first class game. To change this a player must qualify in accordance with the timeframe required for citizenship and be a citizen of the preferred country and their intention communicated to the ICC. At this point they will not longer be eligible to play for the previous country. Eligibility via parentage must be abolished.

    By the way, this is not a criticism of Robson. I wish him all the best.

    It is just a pet peeve of mine

  • POSTED BY Just_Sam on | March 20, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Are there no Englishmen left to play for England anymore. More than half their side is from other countries. Surprised at the thought, that the country which invented Cricket is struggling to put up eleven good players. Barring Asian countries, every other country has borrowed afew players from outside at some point of time. It is high time Asian countries also did the same and became invincible.

  • POSTED BY Jimmyrob83 on | March 20, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    He's from New South Wales and wants to play for England. Poor thing hasn't got much going for him has he.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 20, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx on (March 20, 2014, 3:58 GMT) - wasnt good enuff!

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    @Brenson. Is what defines a country it's culture, what it's like to live there -- or the babies who have been born there? There's a heck of a lot of Australian citizens who weren't born in Australia (Far more, proportionately, than is true in the UK.) I am one. We have chosen Australia, not by accident (of being born here), but deliberately, as adults. Are you saying we're not Australians? And if we are Australian, why shouldn't we play for Australia, if we're good enough? Sam goes for Sam Robson. He's chosen the UK. Good luck to him.

    The good old days of people staying in and solely 'belonging to' the country they were born in are long gone -- especially in Australia -- since 1788 at least, if not long before.

  • POSTED BY Brenson on | March 20, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    England are a joke. Why not just call them the International XI and then they can pick whoever they want? It's more apt then calling themselves 'England' when half their team aren't even from there.

  • POSTED BY victortrumpet on | March 20, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    He looks like Joe Root there, you can have him....

  • POSTED BY Sir_Francis on | March 20, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Other way around. No one had even heard of him when they started talking him up for England. He's played Grade cricket in Sydney without exciting any state selectors.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | March 20, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    Very strange. Never seen an Aussie so easily give up on his country.

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  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | March 20, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    Very strange. Never seen an Aussie so easily give up on his country.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Francis on | March 20, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Other way around. No one had even heard of him when they started talking him up for England. He's played Grade cricket in Sydney without exciting any state selectors.

  • POSTED BY victortrumpet on | March 20, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    He looks like Joe Root there, you can have him....

  • POSTED BY Brenson on | March 20, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    England are a joke. Why not just call them the International XI and then they can pick whoever they want? It's more apt then calling themselves 'England' when half their team aren't even from there.

  • POSTED BY on | March 20, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    @Brenson. Is what defines a country it's culture, what it's like to live there -- or the babies who have been born there? There's a heck of a lot of Australian citizens who weren't born in Australia (Far more, proportionately, than is true in the UK.) I am one. We have chosen Australia, not by accident (of being born here), but deliberately, as adults. Are you saying we're not Australians? And if we are Australian, why shouldn't we play for Australia, if we're good enough? Sam goes for Sam Robson. He's chosen the UK. Good luck to him.

    The good old days of people staying in and solely 'belonging to' the country they were born in are long gone -- especially in Australia -- since 1788 at least, if not long before.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 20, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx on (March 20, 2014, 3:58 GMT) - wasnt good enuff!

  • POSTED BY Jimmyrob83 on | March 20, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    He's from New South Wales and wants to play for England. Poor thing hasn't got much going for him has he.

  • POSTED BY Just_Sam on | March 20, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Are there no Englishmen left to play for England anymore. More than half their side is from other countries. Surprised at the thought, that the country which invented Cricket is struggling to put up eleven good players. Barring Asian countries, every other country has borrowed afew players from outside at some point of time. It is high time Asian countries also did the same and became invincible.

  • POSTED BY Bryand on | March 20, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    It time the ICC modified eligibility rules. A player should only be eligible to play for one country at any point in time. This should be determined on the citizenship that he or she holds. If a first class player holds dual citizenship they must nominate a country to the ICC before playing their first first class game. To change this a player must qualify in accordance with the timeframe required for citizenship and be a citizen of the preferred country and their intention communicated to the ICC. At this point they will not longer be eligible to play for the previous country. Eligibility via parentage must be abolished.

    By the way, this is not a criticism of Robson. I wish him all the best.

    It is just a pet peeve of mine

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | March 20, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    @Meety: He is now, he scores hundreds for fun.