Sam David Robson
July 01, 1989, Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales
Right hand bat
In the middle of 2013, when England were on their way to winning another Ashes series and had what appeared to be a settled top three, the closely guarded thoughts of Sam Robson made for an interesting if not immediately relevant debate: would the opening batsman born in New South Wales with a mother from Nottinghamshire want to represent Australia or England, given the chance?
Well, long before the end of England's 2013-14 Ashes humiliation, Robson's wishes had, it seemed, become obvious - and the subject was anything but academic. With problems manifest among England's top order, opportunity beckoned for the former Australia U-19 player and he was duly named in the squad to play Sri Lanka in the first home Test of the summer. This was quite a journey for a man who flew halfway round the world as a teenager with little more than some jobbing legspin and a faculty for hard work to recommend him in pursuit of a cricket career.
Robson failed in his first Test, prompting the media to dissect his technique, with many judges reckoning him too vulnerable outside offstump. To his great credit Robson's faith in his game remained unbroken, and he promptly struck a well-compiled century in his second Test. But, after 59 against India at Lord's Robson managed only 106 runs in his last six innings. When his struggles continued upon his return to Middlesex in the Championship, while several rivals for the England opener's berth thrived, the England Lions tour to South Africa in January 2015 loomed as a critical juncture in Robson's career. The following summer, England opted for Adam Lyth, leaving Robson to seek to promote his worth again at Middlesex.
Having made the earliest first-class hundred ever witnessed in the UK, for Middlesex against Durham MCCU before March was out in 2012, Robson progressed in pleasing fashion since making his Championship debut in 2009. He scored nearly 1,200 in Division One of Championship runs, at an average of 47, in 2013 (third highest run-maker in the top tier) and carried that good form into the EPP tour of Australia and the Lions visit to Sri Lanka, compiling five centuries and rubber-stamping his good impression. His weight of stroke was considered a little slight - one reason why he has barely featured in Middlesex's limited overs teams - but that did not stop him forming a formidable opening pair with Chris Rogers for his county.
It had been thought that Robson - an opener solid in defence and fluent through the covers, much in the style of Mike Atherton - would qualify for England in 2014. But when Middlesex re-examined the situation they discovered he had completed the requisite residency period (having moved to London in 2008) in August 2013.
His England sojourn over, temporarily at least, he then built another productive opening partnership with Nick Gubbins as Middlesex won the 2016 title, his season launched with a career-best 231 against Warwickshire at Lord's. He topped the averages the following year as they were abruptly relegated but in a season where Keaton Jennings, Haseeb Hameed and Mark Stoneman all contested an England opening spot with limited persuasiveness, Robson failed to win a recall. A first century in 15 months, against Derbyshire, as the 2018 season tailed away, hardly made a case for consideration.
Batting & Fielding
Explore Statsguru Analysis
Debut/Last Matches - Player
Recent Matches - Player
News and Features