CHRIS Rogers has given his full backing to Tom Abell, the man who replaces him as the Somerset captain in 2017, writes Richard Walsh.

The former Australian Test Match batsman, who last season led Somerset to second in the County Championship, is back at the Cooper Associates County Ground for the first part of this season as a batting coach and mentor.

Rogers said: “We have already had some contact and spoken a little bit and exchanged a few emails, that kind of thing. 

“Hopefully, I can help him through that initial phase because it is a tough challenge - there is no doubt about that.

“He might make a few mistakes at the beginning but he is going to be very good. He is a great character and everybody in the squad supports him.

“I am really looking forward to the new season and being back involved with the guys again.

“There seems to be a pretty good feel about things at the moment.”
It may be difficult for Rogers to adjust to not being on the field, but the Australian insisted he is excited about his new role.

“I am looking forward to taking a backward step and I think that when you retire the game quickly moves on and it’s not about you any more, it’s about the guys who walk out on to the park.

“My job now is to support them and help them in any way I can.

“There is such a good group of players here at Somerset now. 

“There is so much willingness to learn and they just want to get better and improve and I am really looking forward to helping them - I will also hopefully getting something out of it myself, too.”

“I just want to help with the batting and maybe do a little bit of mentoring with Tom if I can and maybe also if I can perhaps take a Second team game now and again to help my own learning. 

“I am looking forward to it and just here to help.”

Rogers is clearly content in his new role, but did he have a pair of whites tucked at the bottom of his kit bag in case there was a chance to carry out the 12th man duties?

“Absolutely not,” he replied.

“The last run I took was to bring up my 100 last year and that really will be my final run!”

SOMERSET start their pre-season friendly programme tomorrow (Sunday) with a three-day match against Gloucestershire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Entry for spectators is free, and the Stragglers Coffee House will be open all day.