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Former Middlesex captain keen to rediscover his form under Rogers

PUBLISHED: 17:20 07 May 2014 | UPDATED: 17:20 07 May 2014

Neil Dexter batting for Middlesex

Neil Dexter batting for Middlesex

© Sarah Williams 2013

Former Middlesex captain Neil Dexter says he is content to learn from current skipper Chris Rogers following his return to the ranks this season.

Dexter, who took over as captain in 2010, shared the job with Rogers for almost two years before standing down last winter and handing control of the county’s limited-overs side to Eoin Morgan.

The 29-year-old has not ruled out taking on another captaincy role in the future, but his short-term aim is to rediscover his form with the bat – and he feels working under Rogers is an excellent way to achieve that.

The pair shared an unbroken partnership of 145 last week in Middlesex’s remarkable run chase to overcome Yorkshire, with Dexter (72 not out) offering solid support to the skipper’s undefeated 241.

“I’ve never seen a more determined innings in my life and the guy’s just class,” said Dexter. “Chris backed up what he said with the way he batted and that’s the best way to lead.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, but hopefully I can play with a bit more freedom now. Even when I first took over as captain, it took a while before it actually started to affect my batting – and then the longer I had to think about it, the worse it became.

“I did enjoy my time as captain and it’s something I might look at again in the future, but at the moment I just want to enjoy my game.

“It’s been easy to play under Chris – he has such a good cricket brain and he leads from the front. If your game’s going well, it makes your job as captain a lot easier.

“I’ve enjoyed playing under him and I know I’m going to enjoy playing under Morgy as well.”

Dexter, who led Middlesex to the County Championship Division Two title in his first full season, admits he is still adapting to life as a former captain.

However, the ex-Kent player’s decision to relinquish the reins of power will, he hopes, benefit not just his batting but also his performances with the ball in the long-term.

Dexter’s medium pace came in very handy last season, when he took 18 County Championship wickets at an average of 23 and, more recently, he has effectively filled in as all-rounder in the absence of the injured Gareth Berg.

“Although I might joke around about my bowling, I really want to do well and it’s something that keeps me interested when I’m on the field,” added Dexter.

“Last season was my best with the ball [in four-day cricket] because I was given more of a chance. I think when you’re captain it’s sometimes hard to bowl yourself!

“Obviously I’m never going to be a fast bowler, but the aim is do a job from one end and every now and then burgle a few wickets or break a partnership. That’s my role and it’s one I enjoy whenever I’m asked to do it.

“As a captain you’re keeping an eye on the team score constantly and I still look at the scoreboard closely, but that’s also because we’ve grown really close as a team and we want to see each other succeed.

“I’m still adjusting, but I feel a lot of pressure has been taken off my shoulders. I believe I’ve got a lot more to offer the team and I’m very happy with where I am.”

Middlesex’s inconsistent start to the season continued as they went down to an innings defeat against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Fast bowler Steven Finn top scored with 37 not out as the visitors were dismissed for just 167 before reducing Warwickshire to 140-6 in reply.

But the home side rallied to 462 all out and then rolled Middlesex over for 248 in the second innings, despite half-centuries from both Rogers and Sam Robson.

Middlesex are back in County Championship action on Sunday for the start of their four-day clash with Lancashire at Lord’s.

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