Adam Jack Aubrey Wheater
February 13, 1990, Whipps Cross Hospital, London
Right hand bat
Adam Wheater finally won the battle to become Essex's first-choice gloveman a decade after he debuted as an 18-year-old. His route had initially been blocked by James Foster, leading to a move to Hampshire in 2013, where he developed markedly as a batsman; but he lost the wicketkeeping role on the south coast and soon headed back to Essex, going on to help his boyhood club to Championship success in 2017 and 2019, as well as a maiden T20 title.
Wheater emerged through the Essex academy and Millfield School as an impressive wicketkeeper-batsman. He represented England Under-19s and found a place in Essex's Championship side in 2011, averaging 42, including 164 against Northants, but quickly found his progress checked. He caught Hampshire's attention in July 2012 when he made 98 off 111 balls to very nearly pull off a chase of 360 for Essex at Chelmsford in the Championship. The following year, he was playing for Hampshire, having bought out his contract at Essex.
He made three first-class centuries in his first season, but his glovework came under much scrutiny because of the presence of Michael Bates - one of the most talented wicketkeepers in the country - and he ended the summer playing only as a batsman. The trend continued for a while in 2014 but Bates couldn't take his chance with the bat, despite improvement, and Wheater eventually took over behind the stumps. He contributed 610 runs at 32.10 to Hampshire's promotion-winning campaign and also made his maiden List A century from just 76 balls on his way to 135 - ironically against Essex at Chelmsford.
Wheater's problematic wicketkeeping resurfaced, though, and he relinquished the gloves to Lewis McManus in 2016. Again asked to play as a specialist, he averaged almost 60, scoring a maiden double-hundred - but Hampshire did not stand in his way when he requested to be released from his contract at the end of the season. Back at Essex, although he started the summer keeping wicket, he was again edged out by Foster as the newly promoted team went on to claim their first Championship title in 25 years. Foster's retirement at the end of 2018, however, left Wheater as the unrivalled No. 1.
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