Adams: We want a new version of Happy Hampshire

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Happy Hampshire used to be a derogatory term aimed at a club who weren’t that bothered whether they won or lost.

While they were a team who enjoyed themselves and played with smiles on their faces, the accusation was they lacked a competitive edge when push came to shove.

Jimmy Adams. Picture: Neil Marshall

Jimmy Adams. Picture: Neil Marshall

Former captains Shane Warne and Dominic Cork hated the term and attempted to distance themselves and their team from it.

The argument goes that while it worked under Warne, it created animosity under Cork’s leadership.

Jimmy Adams is now eager to see a version of Happy Hampshire return – but with a different slant for the new generation under a style of captaincy that is inclusive and understanding of his team-mates.

The Hampshire skipper smiled: ‘I have told the boys that if I change, they have my permission to give me a kick up the backside.

‘But I want to go about the captaincy the way I have gone about playing the past few years.

‘There are elements I have to do differently but I would like to think we have a changing room now that is conducive to enjoying our cricket and also playing tough cricket.

‘I want it to be a place where it is conducive to progression, practising hard and pushing people to get the most from themselves.

‘The way the old Happy Hampshire tag has been used in the past is probably not how we would like it but I do want the guys to enjoy what they do.

‘I want us to play a tough brand of cricket but there is no point in us going out there and being miserable about it.

‘At the end of the day, we do play a sport, although that’s not to say we take it lightly.

‘When you enjoy something, you get a lot more out of it, you get more from each other and you tend to get more from yourself.

‘Of course, it’s a balance. But I just ask that the players don’t leave anything behind and they go out with the right intent.’

Adams knows what makes Hampshire tick.

He’s seen it all at close quarters, having graduated from the county’s youth ranks to spend the past 10 years with the first team.

Towards the end of last season he assumed command – when it became clear Cork’s stay would not be extended.

And the 31-year-old now has the chance to put his own stamp on the team and steer them back to the top table of four-day cricket after last year’s relegation.

There is no doubt Hampshire are a club in transition but Adams reckons promotion remains a realistic goal for his troops.

And along the way he is determined to stay the same laid-back and cheerful bloke that has made him a popular member of the staff.

‘My brother and sister might disagree that I’m laid-back but I suppose it can be a strength and a weakness at times,’ said Adams.

‘There are times when you have to lay down the law but I hope the guys know where they stand in terms of my expectations.

‘If there are times where I feel I have been let down by someone, I would have a quiet word and that would be down to people not giving themselves the best chance of putting in good performances.

‘I’m not known for being particularly loud but I get as frustrated as much as anyone.

‘There are guys who shout all the time but it just becomes white noise to everyone else!

‘If anything, I think we have been too hard on ourselves in the past and got a bit down too quickly.

‘As long as we are all pulling in the right direction, I’m happy.

‘Maybe that’s where having decent communication, chatting to people and knowing where everyone stands is vital.

‘You will not get it right every time. You won’t take a wicket with every ball and you won’t score runs every time you play.

‘As long as they give themselves the best chance to do that, that’s all we can ask.

‘If they do that, I’m pretty confident we will be sitting here in September with a big smile on our faces after a successful season.’