A CANDID Chris Rogers claims Middlesex have failed to live up to their own expectations this season.
The tenants of Lord’s went into their penultimate game of the campaign against Nottinghamshire with still a mathematical chance of claiming their first County Championship winners penchant for 20 years.
And they are well on course to repeat their third place of last season – their first back in the top flight when the perception of many pundits was the North London side punched above their weight.
However, Rogers, recently returned from the Ashes series, claimed having raised the bar 12 months ago, his team had lacked the ruthlessness and intensity associated with champions.
He said: “Expectation was a lot higher this year and belief was higher too, so if anything I am a little bit disappointed with where we are at in not really challenging for the title.
“Yes there is still hope, but it is a small glimmer. So I’m a little bit disappointed and I think the guys are as well.
“From what I have seen there is a little bit of inconsistency that comes from a lack of intensity. We win two games and then lose one and if you want to win the title that is not how you play.
“To win things you have got to be absolutely ruthless and we have still got a lot of young guys who probably don’t understand that just yet or what it takes to be a world class player.
“That is the challenge for them I think in the future - It is still a big learning curve for these guys.”
Without mentioning individuals, Rogers suggested the batsmen in general had come up short, adding, “There are some guys there who will be very disappointed with their season,” begging the question are re-enforcements needed?
Director of Cricket Gus Fraser has already suggested any additions will be dependent on whether or not Eoin Morgan retains a central contract with England.
In any event, his four-day captain is not convinced bringing another established county batsman into the mix would be worth the money involved, suggesting instead it was up to those on the existing staff to step up to the level necessary to sustain a title challenge next time.
"It a tough one as to whether the squad needs adding to. You have to get to the end of the year and have a think about it.
“I think it will need players to stand up first and foremost. You can add guys to the squad, but they are not falling off trees to be honest, so to get a top quality player, one that is better than what we have already got would be hard work anyway.
“But it will take individuals in the squad to stand up and be counted and that is a challenge for them.”
Despite his short-term disappointment, Rogers remains confident the club are on course for bigger things.
He added: “I’m exceptionally happy with the health of the squad, the direction we are going and the people who are in charge.
“We are a fairly young group apart from a couple of us, so this is another year behind us in terms of experience we can put it in the bank and use it for the years coming.”