Middlesex and England batsman impressed by potential of new opening partner

Sam Robson is confident of forging a strong alliance with Nick Gubbins as Middlesex get used to life without talismanic opener Chris Rogers.

Robson is now the team’s senior opening batsman, and has been paired with 21-year-old Gubbins at the top of the order for their first two County Championship games of the campaign.

So far, the younger player has outshone Robson and narrowly missed out on his maiden first-class century against Somerset at Taunton – the ground where Rogers rescued Middlesex from defeat with a typically tenacious double hundred at the end of last season.

But, with Eoin Morgan currently playing in the Indian Premier League and Dawid Malan out until at least mid-May due to a hand fracture, the Lord’s side need their remaining batsmen to keep performing.

“Once you get out there in the middle you’ve just got to fight hard and get stuck in and do as well as you can for the team, regardless of whether you’re a senior player or a young player,” said Robson.

“Being more experienced, I suppose I’ve got a bit more responsibility and in some respects, responsibility to help Nick as the younger partner.

“Nick’s looked a good player – he had a little taste of first-team cricket last year and he coped really well. He’s carried that on now and I think we can form a good partnership together.

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“Obviously we had Chris for a number of years and he was so successful, but now there’s more responsibility on the rest of us to stand up and be counted.

“It’s a big year for us as a team – we weren’t at our best last year, we know that and we want to put it right. My aim is to try and make big scores and contribute to the team performance – that doesn’t change from any other year.”

Gubbins performed well in both innings at Taunton, hitting 92 and 78 as Middlesex successfully chased down a daunting fourth-innings target of 402 to clinch their first win of the season by five wickets.

Skipper Adam Voges struck 132, while all-rounder James Franklin steered Middlesex home with an unbeaten 115 on his debut.

Middlesex are back in County Championship action at Lord’s over the Bank Holiday weekend, when they face Durham in a four-day game that starts on Saturday.

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