Liam Dawson may not be renowned for launching sixes but Hampshire skipper Jimmy Adams said: We all knew he had it in his game.
The 23-year-old all-rounder turned in a late match-winning batting performance in Sunday’s success over Durham.
And he will again be bidding to turn on the style against Lancashire in today’s YB40 clash at the Ageas Bowl.
Dawson clubbed a brilliant 37 not out from just 21 balls as he smashed four fours and two sixes to get his side over the winning line after Michael Carberry (96) had built the platform for victory.
And while the former England under-19 man has made important – if less explosive – contributions with the bat in limited-overs cricket in the past, Adams believes Dawson needed an innings like that to convince himself he can play that destructive role.
The Hampshire captain said: ‘That was an important knock for him and will give him a huge boost because that will do wonders for his belief.
‘He’s a wonderfully talented cricketer but sometimes he just beats himself up a bit.
‘He beat himself up a bit after the Gloucestershire game but he came out and showed what he can do against Durham.
‘He’s a very important player for us and although he won’t be seen in the same terms of power-hitting as Michael Carberry, James Vince, Sean Ervine or someone like that, he can hit the ball as sweetly as anyone in his areas.
‘As batters, when we try to hit outside our areas, we get into trouble.
‘But he is strong on the off-side, strong on the hook and has got wonderful skills playing the delicate shots, too.
‘He talks about wanting to hit sixes and he hit some beauties.’
A few eyebrows were raised when Dawson came in ahead of the returning Dimi Mascarenhas with the run-rate creeping up towards the end of a tight tussle with Durham.
But Dawson showed why he was trusted and can carve himself out a niche as a game finisher with more performances like that.
Adams said: ‘We feel he is a very good man to have coming in at the end or in the middle.
‘He plays the dink shot so well and he’s hard to bowl at because of the new regulations.
‘If he is adding the power-hitting as well, it makes him doubly hard to bowl at.
‘That will have done him the world of good and we know he can do it consistently.’
It is now three wins out of four for the defending champions and if they can chalk up a fourth today, it will put them in a healthy position for the rest of the competition.
Adams said: ‘The Surrey game was a disappointment but three wins from four is a good place to be.
‘It’s the type of group where every game is going to be tough.
‘But we have done well in those sorts of games in the past and I’m sure we can do well again.’