Adams eager to help Afridi fire

Skipper Dominic Cork will ponder where to bat star all-rounder Shahid Afridi, right
Skipper Dominic Cork will ponder where to bat star all-rounder Shahid Afridi, right
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Jimmy Adams shrugged off the uncertainty over his place in the Hampshire batting line-up and told Giles White and Dominic Cork: I’m happy to bat anywhere.

The powerful left-hander was the leading run-scorer in last year’s successful t20 campaign with 668 runs.

In the recent win over Sussex Sharks, he was moved down to number three from his usual opening position to accommodate Shahid Afridi as a pinch-hitter.

But Adams, who has 238 runs to his name in the Friends Life t20 this season, was pushed back up to open the innings with Michael Lumb in last week’s trip to Middlesex.

And his 38 not out was vital in the victory over the Panthers.

While it seems Hampshire’s first-team manager White and skipper Cork have yet to make a permanent decision on how best to use Afridi’s explosive batting, the long-serving Adams will be unfazed if he is asked to drop down once again.

And with tonight’s opponents Essex inflicting the Royals’ only defeat of the t20 campaign – when Tim Southee effectively won the game for the Eagles as a pinch-hitting opener – Hampshire may be tempted to fight fire with fire.

Adams said: ‘It doesn’t bother me where I bat – I will gladly bat anywhere.

‘Sometimes it’s nice to have pace on the ball up front but if Shahid going in at the top is the best thing for the team, then so be it.

‘He opened against Sussex –they had started with a spinner for a lot of the competition so we thought Shahid might make them change their plans or get us off to a flier.

‘He got 29 and did pretty well, to be fair.

‘You want to get off to a good start because the first six overs gives you momentum.

‘Sometimes those plans don’t always work but if he can take a spinner for a couple of big overs, then you are away.’

Afridi has 13 wickets to his name and is the joint leading wicket-taker in the competition having played just five matches.

But Afridi’s outstanding bowling has proved more effective than his batting so far.

Adams said: ‘Shahid has shown that he is quality. His bowling has been fantastic.

‘His batting will always be slightly hit and miss because that’s the nature of the way he plays.

‘But I’m sure that will come good in a game and he will win us a game with that, too.’

While the Royals are currently top of the south group with a four-point cushion, they are not mathematically assured of their place in the quarter-finals yet – even if they look cast-iron qualifiers.

But Adams insists Hampshire will not coast through their remaining four games and rely on other results.

He said: ‘Teams have come hard at us at times and we’ve won some tough games along the way.

‘We are fairly well steeled in getting ourselves out of trouble in games and that will stand us in good stead for some tough games to come.

‘But we want to maintain this momentum.’