Rollins set for return to New Zealand

Matthew Appleby

July 23, 2001

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Mighty English batsman Adrian Rollins will return to captain Taranaki in New Zealand next season.

"It will be my last," the two metre tall opener told CricInfo. A growing family and two years of non-stop cricket will mean the Northamptonshire opener won't continue after a successful run of form in 2000/1.

"The main reason I went was to get my game back and get back into a positive frame of mind," the powerful right-hander revealed.

"I like to score quickly," he continued. I normally go out and just try to attack the bowling."

However after seven seasons at Derbyshire, Rollins hoped for new lease of life at Midlands' neighbours Northants backfired.

"Statistically it was the worst season of my career," the 105 kg heavyweight admitted. In 2000 he scored just 636 runs at 26.50.

"I haven't done as well as I should have since coming here from Derbyshire," he conceded, "but New Zealand regained my positivity."

"I tried to play anchor last year for some reason, but I'm back to the old style now," he said candidly.

That old style has an Ashes link. Aussie openers Michael Slater and Matthew Hayden have been Rollins' opening partners for much of his career, first at Derby, then Northampton.

"They rubbed off on me," said the man who first played county cricket on the same day as his brother, former Essex wicketkeeper Robert, back in 1992.

Twelve first-class centuries later, Rollins has still to reach his potential. An early season leg injury hampered his progress after averaging "about 70" for Taranaki in New Zealand's second-string Hawke Cup competition. The only team Rollins feared in NZ was Manawatu, captained by Jacob Oram and featuring many Central Disticts' players.

Rollins revealed he may not have won the call-up to Dipak Patel's ambitious side if it wasn't for the presence of prolific English professional Ben Smith.

Rollins first played in New Zealand for Kaponga in 1993/4.

"I enjoy it a lot over there," he concluded. "I'm definitely going back."

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