By Oliver Lees
Despite having less than 24 hours to prepare for his Melbourne Stars debut in the Big Bash League, Tom Rogers showed he was ready for the big stage.
Dealing with a number of players who were unavailable due to COVID-19 protocol, Rogers was named as one of four players who stepped up into the Stars’ first 11 against Perth earlier this month.
“It’s unbelievable and not something I’d expected to happen at all,” Rogers told the Star Weekly.
“It just happened pretty fast and I think that actually helped, because I didn’t have the time to have any negative thoughts.”
Opening the batting alongside Englishman Joe Clarke, the pair tacked on an impressive 78-run partnership, led by Clarke’s 52.
Rogers managed 32 from 25 balls, in an innings that featured five boundaries and registered as the Stars’ second highest individual tally from the match.
But the promising debut wasn’t enough to lift the Stars to victory at Junction Oval, as they could only muster 130 in their chase of the Scorchers’ 8/180.
After 12 matches, the Scorchers sit atop the BBL table with 10 wins and two losses.
Rogers said he enjoyed the challenge of mixing with the game’s best in the T20 format.
“I’ve fasted some reasonably quick guys… [but] there was definitely a bit of difference,” he said.
The match against the Scorchers marked the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for the former Gisborne Cricket Club player, who has cemented himself as one of the standout batsmen in Victorian Premier Cricket.
In December, the 22-year-old broke the Premier Cricket record for the highest individual run score in a one-day match.
His knock of 200 not out for Ringwood against Prahran came from just 151 deliveries and included 21 fours and four sixes.
Rogers has made a ton on two other occasions this year, lifting his season average to 97.8 from seven innings.
His stellar 2020-21 season also earned him a spot in the Kookaburra Men’s Premier Team of the Season.
“It obviously makes a difference, being a bit more confident when you’re coming off some runs,” Rogers said.
Rogers’ top notch work in the top flight of Victorian allowed him the opportunity to be selected in the Stars Academy last year.
Alongside 12 other stand out young players, Rogers was selected in the Cricket Victoria development program, which was supposed to include a T20 tour of Darwin as part of the Northern Territory’s Cricket 365 program.
However due to COVID-19 health and safety protocol, the preseason tournament was called off.
Rogers said he’d still taken plenty from the experience, including training and exposure to elite level coaches.