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Georgia Adams: From a farmer's field to an Edgbaston final in 12 months

Southern Vipers captain on England radar after leading RHF Trophy run charts

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Georgia Adams drives through the covers, Southern Vipers v South East Stars, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy, Hove, September 05, 2020

Georgia Adams drives through the covers  •  Getty Images

In May, eight weeks into the UK's lockdown, Georgia Adams didn't expect to play any cricket until 2021. Three months later, she will captain her Southern Vipers team in a televised 50-over final, which she goes into with 420 runs in her last six innings.
"It's been a bit of a whirlwind," she laughs. "I got very pessimistic, which isn't like me. I was convinced we weren't going to get any cricket. Even when we got our retainer contracts and go the OK to train, we were still very much unsure what was actually going to go ahead."
Instead, the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy has been a major success. All players have been paid to play, fixtures have been held at men's county grounds, and live streams on YouTube have attracted nearly half a million views. With an average first-innings total of 220 across the season, runs have been easier to come by, with better pitches giving players value for shots.
"Last year in a county game, we turned up and were playing in a farmer's field with no sightscreen," Adams says. "The jump from that to playing at the Ageas Bowl, Hove, The Oval is amazing for us. You get more reward for playing your shots; you're not worrying as much that a ball is going to take off and fly over your head.
"County cricket has always been a decent standard in terms of the players in it, but on some pitches 120 won you the game. That's not what anyone wants to watch, and not what anyone wants to play in. It's been great to see across the board that people have cashed in at these grounds."
Adams herself has been in the form of her life. She is leading the run charts heading into Sunday's final against Northern Diamonds, and has scored consistently throughout the competition: 37 on the opening day is her lowest score, and only four other players in the tournament have even half as many runs as her 420.
In a must-win game against Western Storm, she played the innings of the tournament, hitting 154 not out off 155 balls at the Ageas Bowl. "I was trying to bat and bat and bat," she explains. "And then after I reached 100, every time I tried to hit the ball it just seemed to ping off the middle. Days like that don't happen very often."
Her form has not gone unnoticed. Adams has consistently been involved in England development and academy squads, but is yet to make an international debut. She knows Lisa Keightley, the England head coach, from her time in those squads, and was name-checked by Heather Knight in a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo.
But as Adams sees it, the major boost to women's cricket this year is that international selection is no longer the be-all and end-all: she looks certain to be awarded a full-time contract next month, which will ensure she no longer has to work part-time as a coach alongside her playing career.
"[Playing for] England is something that I've always had one eye on," she says. "It's always been my dream, my end goal, and if the opportunity does come around, hopefully I'll be ready to take it.
"But it's such a tough side to get into: you look at the calibre of batters they've got in the side, and it's phenomenal. They're such a strong unit, and they're only getting better and better.
"In the last year or so, I've just thrown myself into enjoying the game and making the most of it. It's an amazing thing for people to now be able to say: 'well, I didn't play for England, but actually I was a professional cricketer'. I honestly didn't think I'd ever be able to say that, so it's a dream come true that I can, however clichéd that sounds."
Adams says that batting has not been the only area of improvement for her this season; she says she has "grown as a captain tenfold" thanks to the influence of head coach Charlotte Edwards. She has been impressed by the speed at which young, amateur players have developed their tactical understanding, and is enthusiastic when speaking about their young stars.
They include 17-year-old Ella McCaughan, who has opened the batting when Danni Wyatt has been away with England, No. 3 batter and gun fielder Maia Bouchier, and Charlie Dean in the middle order. Their new-ball bowlers in the final will be the tall 19-year-old Lauren Bell - who swung the ball prodigiously on KSL Finals Day last summer - and left-armer Tara Norris.
Adams admits that she is not overly concerned by the fact her father, the former England batsman Chris, will be unable to attend on Sunday, with the game played behind closed doors at Edgbaston. "Apparently he's the worst at watching games ever: he gets so nervous, pacing round, so it's probably better that he's at home and not stressing anyone else out," she explains.
And how special would it be to come out on top? "It would mean so much," she says. "The type of cricket we've been playing, we deserve to lift the trophy. We want to inspire girls in our region to play, and lifting the trophy would really tick that box."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98