Rogers not focused on landmark
It is fair to say that cricketing milestones, however significant, have not been top of the agenda for Carl Rogers over the past fortnight.
The Norfolk opener needs just 23 runs to reach the 10,000 mark in the Minor Counties Championship and few would back against him achieving that target in the three-day game against Buckinghamshire which starts at Slough tomorrow.
But such records have been the last thing on Rogers' mind recently after his 14-year-old daughter, Olivia, suffered serious head injuries in a freak horse riding accident at the start of the month. The teenager was flown by air ambulance to the critical care unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, but is now recovering well and Rogers, who missed Norfolk's last match to be with his daughter, is able to return to county duty.
'Anyone who has children will know what a worrying time it has been,' he said. 'The worst thing was that with head injuries you never know, it's not like she broke an arm falling off the horse and you know it will heal in a few months. Thankfully the neurologist is positive she will make a full recovery, but it has been a traumatic time.'
His recent experiences put the pursuit of 23 runs firmly into perspective, but Rogers said: 'It would be nice to make that 10,000 mark, but really we've got to focus on the game. If we win the match we might have a chance of finishing in second place, so you have to look at the broader picture.'
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Rogers averages more than 60 in the Championship this year and is potentially on course to top 1,000 runs for Great Witchingham in the East Anglian Premier League. At the age of 40, his skills are showing few signs of diminishing.
'I feel like I'm playing as well as I ever have done,' he said. 'Over the years I've found that the pitches I've played on have got better and maybe the bowlers are not quite as good as they used to be. But on top of that, since I've been at Witchingham I've been able to practice a lot more and that's made a difference to the way I've played. I'm still hungry and I'm still enjoying being out in the middle.'
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Rogers needs 91 to surpass Stephen Plumb's aggregate of 10,067 Championship runs and move up to second in the all-time list – although Michael Falcon's total of 11,538 will surely prove a step too far.
While he is in such prime form, Rogers has no thoughts of calling time on his career: 'We'll see how it goes next year,' he said. 'I've almost decided not to play one-day cricket for Norfolk next season because I find that quite hard work and I don't feel like I contribute as much. The three-day games don't start until June so we'll see how my form is. I've got no set plans about when I'll stop playing.'
Having handed the captaincy over to George Walker in the winter, Rogers has been delighted to see his successor overcome a difficult start. Norfolk lost all four MCCA Knockout Trophy matches and did not record a victory in their first three Championship games, but back-to-back wins against Bedfordshire and Suffolk have seen them shoot up the table: 'I think he's done well,' said Rogers. 'He stuck at it after the one-day games, and he came back fighting.
'He could quite easily have said he'd had enough, but now we've got those two wins and he deserves a bit of credit.'
Norfolk will be without opening bowler Michael Warnes at Slough after he aggravated a shoulder injury playing for Horsford in the Carter Cup final last weekend. His place is taken by Michael Eccles, who is fit to resume county duty after a hand injury.
Rogers' return means that Peter Lambert misses out.