Christopher John Adams
May 06, 1970, Whitwell, Derbyshire
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
Middle order Batter
Chesterfield Boys Grammar School; Repton School
A front-foot bruiser, Adams veered from the ferocious to the fallible. He enjoyed a prosperous career at first Derbyshire, his home county for whom his scored over 8,000 first-class runs, and then with Sussex where his masterminded a transformation of the county from sleepy club by the sea to the most successful county in the first decade of the 21st century.
He was one of the most explosive batsmen in the county game and loved to hit the ball in the air. But in his only spell in Test cricket - in South Africa in 1999-00 - his aggressive instincts got him into trouble, especially when he drove loosely and without moving his feet. Adams was a combative cricketer and team-mates had to step in when he and Wasim Akram squared up during the interval at the 1993 B&H final.
He spent ten increasingly unhappy years at Derbyshire, cricket's nest of vipers, and joined Sussex as a highly-paid captain in 1998, where he and Michael Bevan spent two summers rescuing the middle order. His hard work paid dividends in 2003 when he led Sussex to their first County Championship title and in April 2004 he was named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year. In 2006 he led Sussex to double success, winning the C&G Trophy and the Championship.
At the end of the season a few eyebrows were raised when he announced he was moving to Yorkshire as player-coach. Less than a fortnight later even more were raised when he made a U-turn and decided to stay at Hove for 2007. He won the Championship again. But a year later, after Sussex clinched the Pro40 title, Adams announced he was standing down as captain after 11 years. He then hot-footed it to Surrey as their professional cricket manager, renewing his alliance with Gus Mackay, whom he worked with at Sussex.
He inherited a side that failed to win a Championship match in 2008 and were relegated. The recovery was arduous with dead-wood needing to be removed and youngsters steadily incorporated. After a mediocre first season of only one victory in Division Two, Adams' gambled on 22-year-old Rory Hamilton-Brown and installed him as Surrey captain, despite him only having played eight first-class matches.
The policy took two years pay off but in 2011, Surrey, with four win from the final four matches, surged to promotion in the Championship and lifted the Clydesdale Bank 40 title - their first trophy for eight seasons. Adams' Surrey seemed destined for great things but an unhealthy culture was bubbling under the surface with several young members of the squad taking work-hard, play-hard to the extreme. It got out of hand and culminated with the death of Tom Maynard in June 2012, electrocuted on a railway line fleeing police drunken and with drugs in his system. Maynard was seen as the epitome of a culture that Adams' was unable to control.
Adams' reacted to the tragedy with a recruitment drive for senior players. Vikram Solanki and Gary Keedy - both in the twilight of their careers - were signed and Graeme Smith, the South African captain, was brought in to lead another rebuilding process for 2013. But it failed to produce the immediate results the club's management evidently craved and with Surrey having not won any of their opening eight Championship matches, Adams' was sacked in June 2013, along with his assistant Ian Salisbury.
Lawrence Booth and ESPNcricinfo staff
Batting & Fielding