Australian cricketer Chris Rogers has apologised for his part in the resale of unsanctioned tickets for this summer’s Test at Lords.
Rogers, 37, set up a company in May called Inside Edge Experience with Tom Scollay, his former team-mate. They were offering hospitality packages for up to £2,910 for the second Test next month.
Despite his offering Rogers says he’s disappointed and pointed out that Middlesex knew his intentions.
Inside Edge Experience promised potential packages to customers that represent the “week of a lifetime” to see a match which sold out months ago.
The 37-year-old, who has captained Middlesex for four seasons until last summer, says he was open with both the club and Cricket Australia right from the beginning, and that all customers have now been refunded.
But Middlesex have countered Roger’s claim, stating that the company did not have permission to act in this way - even had it known - and have cancelled the all allocated tickets.
“There was no intent to deceive,” said Rogers before Australia’s warm-up match with Kent this week. “I look back at it a little bit disappointed how a few things have turned out – I thought I was open and honest with everything I did.”
Asked if he was naive, Rogers replied: “That word has come up but everyone I spoke to – and I spoke to everyone – didn’t suggest to do it any other way. I was supposed to go through the England and Wales Cricket Board but I went through Middlesex, who are the people I know. It’s been frustrating,”
“[The business] was something I was hoping to be able to develop after I finished playing. It’s been a distraction but the cricket starts tomorrow and I’m just getting on with it. I can’t wait to get out there – the concussion and now this, it’s not how I saw my last tour.”
The hospitality packages that his company offered included guest appearances from well-known cricketers, with Rogers himself planning to be among them.
What the Inside Edge experience offered
For the most expensive packages, Inside Edge Experience offers access to “special guests” after the close of play each evening, and the Telegraph understands prospective buyers have been informed Rogers himself was being touted as one of those guests, possibly alongside Australia team-mates. Inside Edge’s brochure also promised an invitation to “celebrate Chris’s last match at Lord’s Cricket Ground upon the conclusion of the Test”. Inside Edge Experience, whose website carries a picture of Rogers and Scollay together, was able to buy an allocation of ten Test tickets from Middlesex for £110 each because the pair are former players for the club, but Lord’s ground rules forbid such tickets being used for profit.
Rogers hopes his relationship with Middlesex, who he agreed to return to for next season, hopes this relationship has not been damaged.
“From the very early emails I told what I was doing and they suggested this was the way to go about it,” he said. “Middlesex have been amazing to me and I have nothing but respect for the people in that organisation so hopefully I can continue that relationship.
“I told Cricket Australia I might be [making an appearance] – very briefly - the other people who were going to be in were Steve Finn and Sam Robson, who are our friends. It wasn’t something we were necessarily trying to do anything wrong, we tried to do the right thing and apologies if it’s come out badly. The tickets have been refunded and no money has been exchanged with Middlesex.”
Rather than sanction Rogers, Cricket Australia have named him in their side for this Thursday’s four-day warm-up match.
Australia have opted not to select fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, who both played in the Caribbean, but Ryan Harris will feature.
Paddy Power have England at 3/1
for this Thursday’s Test Match, with Australia at 4/5
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