Settled Hampshire far happier with white ball
Jimmy Adams evoked his own schooldays, spent at Twyford, near his home, and then at Sherborne, when contrasting Hampshire's authority in the one day game with their poor standing in the County Championship.
Hampshire, the most successful one-day side in the country, were ranked as strong favourites ahead of their Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-final against Glamorgan at the Ageas Bowl yet their Championship form has been woeful as they have slipped to third bottom of the Second Division following relegation last season.
Adams, speaking after scoring 218 in the drawn match against Northamptonshire, recalled the passion he had for a certain sport or academic subject and how that would affect his own performance.
"One-day cricket is like being at school in that one is pulled towards it," Adams said. "If another format is a bit tougher, there is not the same love for it. I am keen to re-ignite a passion for four-day cricket. We have found a format for one-day cricket.
"If the players turned up for the second day of a Championship match and were told this was being turned into a one-day match, it would be different. The financial rewards in the limited overs game do not come into it - that has not been a part of what Giles White, our coach, and I talk about.
"I think one difference this season has been that our one-day side is very settled. We have a nice batch of very good young players and experienced older ones. They understand what is expected. On four-day pitches we struggle to bowl sides out, but eight years ago [when there was more lateral movement on the newly laid square] people would have been all over these pitches in their praise.
As a batter, I am not complaining, but it has been tougher to bowl opponents out through the heavy roller taking the sap out. I have also heard the argument that drainage systems installed all over the country has made the pitches flatter, but am not sure about that."
Adams cited the fact that Dimitri Mascarenhas, who will play at the Ageas Bowl for the last time against Glamorgan before retiring at the end of the season, has played little four-day cricket of late. The same is true of James Tomlinson, another key one-day bowler.
"Tommo has not played a great deal and will gain in experience in due course. We lack a spearhead bowler, someone who can get us 50-plus wickets in the Championship. We would love to have that, but these players are like gold dust."
The schooldays analogy was pertinent in that Adams was watched during his double century by Bob Stephenson, his coach when at Twyford School near Winchester and a member of the 1973 Championship winning side celebrating beyond the boundary. Stephenson regards him as the pick of the boys he tutored. What he might have spotted on Thursday was that his prodigy was moving around the crease less than on occasions this season when he has scored fewer runs.
"I move around a lot while batting and some people told me I was doing less of this during this match," Adams said. "I lost all my trigger movements seven years ago when I was having a really tough season." He will be 33 at the end of this month, so can be said to have reached his peak, but will continue playing for as long as possible. "If only you had asked me that question two weeks ago when I couldn't buy a run. But I have been lucky with injuries and still enjoy the fielding. I shall have to be booted out."
Whether or not Hampshire reach the YB40 final at Lord's on September 21, one of Adams's immediate tasks will be to assess how much cricket Michael Bates, who took six catches in Northamptonshire's first innings and made 71, can be given in the future. "His wicketkeeping is as good as anyone's in the country and I feel strongly that the club should stick with players who come through the system. Michael has not had the chances he would have liked, but then Adam Wheater has done very well. We have a decent record in promoting our own youngsters but professional sport is tough."
He himself is undecided whether to continue as captain for a third season next year. "There's a part of it that I find great and days when one scores a double century make it a lot better, but other parts that are tough. I ride a rollercoaster about people's futures and selections and trying to help them. I'll think about it in the winter."