MCC launch further investigation of Rogers' tickets
If Chris Rogers hoped the "ticketgate" incident had blown over, news that the MCC has launched a formal investigation will have provoked a rethink.
Rogers, the Australia opening batsman, was left red-faced earlier this week when it emerged that the company he owns with former Middlesex colleague Tom Scollay had been attempting to onward sell tickets acquired through his contact at Middlesex for the Investec Ashes Test at Lord's contrary to regulations. Now it seems that Rogers' attempts to explain himself have only dragged him deeper into the mire.
While the MCC's initial reaction to the incident was mild irritation, they were greatly concerned by Rogers' suggestion that he thought Middlesex had condoned his plans and that other players were involved. Specifically Rogers said he "spoke to everyone" at Middlesex and that they were aware "from the very early emails... what I was doing and they suggested this is the way I go about it." He also said: "The other people that were going to be in were the likes of Steven Finn and even guys like Sammy Robson."
Middlesex originally acknowledged that a junior member of staff had known about Rogers plans and helped him source tickets - quite legitimately - for the match. While that explanation might have been accepted by the MCC, the suggestion that more people - or anyone in senior management - knew that he intended to sell them on would be deemed unacceptable.
As a result, the MCC are to ask Middlesex, their tenants at Lord's, to account for all tickets they have been allocated for the Ashes Test at the ground, while they will also ask to see emails exchanged between Rogers and the club. They have already demanded that the 10 tickets per day allocated to Rogers - around 10% of Middlesex's allocation at the game - be returned to them.
"We take this incident extremely seriously," an MCC spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "We taken action against improper use of tickets and we will take appropriate action here as required. We will need to see where all tickets have gone and these emails."
It is understood that a non-executive MCC member - perhaps someone from the membership committee - will lead the investigation. In previous cases, members have been suspended or even expelled from the club. For Middlesex, who are hugely reliant on the goodwill of their landlords and have worked hard to establish a good working relationship, it is a most unhelpful episode.
Officials at Middlesex are aghast that Rogers spurned the opportunity to put the matter to rest by apologising and accepting he had acted naively and instead dragged the club deeper into the mire. His chances of returning to the county as a player - a possibility that had been discussed with a view to the 2016 season - now appear minimal.
It is understood by ESPNcricinfo that Rogers has sent a message to Finn apologising for dragging him into the situation. Finn has assured the ECB that he knew nothing of Rogers' plans and has not asked for any tickets for the match.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo