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James Vince attributes new-found consistency to 'enjoying my cricket as much as anything'

England batter "relaxed and "comfortable" about re-signing with "second home" Sydney Sixers in the BBL

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
'Once you get on a bit of a roll confidence is a massive part for me as well' - Vince  •  Getty Images

'Once you get on a bit of a roll confidence is a massive part for me as well' - Vince  •  Getty Images

Grey skies and a green surface at the Ageas Bowl would have most County Championship batters sweating and fretting just two hours before the start of a day's play.
But James Vince cut a calm and relaxed figure sitting alone in the stands, chatting to Australian journalists via zoom about re-signing with Sydney Sixers in the BBL.
With Yorkshire 197 for 6 ahead of day two, the Hampshire captain could have been forgiven for skipping the interview altogether for some extra time in the nets.
That he was happy to talk about a T20 franchise 17000kms away, which he describes as "like a second home", spoke of his current mindset in a year that has been one of the most consistent of his career.
"I've just tried to enjoy my cricket as much as anything," Vince said. "I think that plays a massive part. If you start getting too down about it and almost get into that mindset, which I have done in the past, where you don't look forward to your cricket, I think it's so much harder to perform and put yourself under extra pressure."
Hampshire and Yorkshire later bowled a combined total of 94.4 overs on day two and 15 wickets fell. Only two individual batters scored 20 runs off their own bat on the day, and just one passed 21.
Vince compiled a silky 49 from 90 balls and looked a cut above all others in the game. He struck nine boundaries, many of them sumptuous trademark drives on a surface that was a slip cordon's heaven. He enjoyed himself so much that he eventually holed out to deep square.
Vince's class has never been in question. It's consistency his critics have craved. He has seemingly found that this year and team success has followed at every turn. It started with scores of 98 not out and 95 in the BBL finals to help guide Sixers to back-to-back titles. He made significant contributions in his five PSL games for Multan Sultans with the franchise eventually claiming the title.
He made 231 not out in his first Championship match of the season for Hampshire and they remain in the mix for the title. Hampshire are also in the upcoming T20 Blast semi-final with Vince scoring a vital century against Sussex earlier in the campaign. He made his maiden ODI century against Pakistan after an unexpected recall to England colours and captained Southern Brave to the inaugural Hundred title.
"Once you get on a bit of a roll confidence is a massive part for me as well," Vince said. "I guess you can't put a finger on something really specific, but I'm a couple of years older. I think you [gain] experience each year and definitely having success builds confidence and gives you belief going to different environments.
"In the case of the Sixers, it's an environment that I am comfortable in and know everyone very well now, so that makes a big difference as well. You've got the backing of Shippy [head coach Greg Shipperd] and the guys around you, it makes you feel good. It makes you feel relaxed and able to enjoy your cricket without putting too much pressure on yourself."
That he's found such form having played so much cricket globally during the Covid-19 pandemic makes it even more impressive. Vince has a young family at home with his daughter about to begin school and has committed to endure another 14-day hard quarantine in Australia and spend another Christmas away from his family. But he has no secret formula for handling it.
"No, not really. It doesn't get any easier," Vince said. "When I leave the house that'll be a tough goodbye. Hopefully, going forward we can get back to normality. They enjoyed coming out in the past. So yeah, it's tough to deal with but I guess it is just how it is at the minute."
Whether a comfortable, confident, and more consistent Vince, with experience in Australian conditions, will be recalled to what might be a large England Test squad for the Ashes tour remains unknown. Something that Vince is unperturbed by.
"That's completely out of my control," he said. "I'm not sure what the situation is with how many and who's going and all that sort of stuff. I'm just looking forward to coming back to the Sixers and I've got some cricket here to focus on for the time being."

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo