Adams: I’ll be petrified but I’ll make the most of it

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Sam Northeast during the press conference at the Ageas Bowl on Friday. Picture:

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Jimmy Adams is not afraid to admit he will be scared stiff when he leads Hampshire out in tomorrow’s Lord’s final.

The loyal Royals batsman is one of the nicest blokes you could ever wish to meet in professional sport.

And while others would trot out a pack of lies on how they might be feeling ahead of one of the biggest days of their career, Adams is typically honest in his assessment.

The 31-year-old is no stranger to the big showpiece events.

He has played a key part in Hampshire’s recent one-day glories ahead of the Clydesdale Bank 40 clash against recently-crowned county champions Warwickshire.

But casting his mind back to the Lord’s final in 2009 – when Hampshire cruised past Sussex in the 50-over tie – Adams admitted he was feeling the tension before the game.

He recalled: ‘You’ve got to give it your best shot and not let that sort of occasion overwhelm you.

‘We had Dom (Cork), Nic (Pothas) and Dimi (Mascarenhas) and that rubbed off really well on the rest of us because I was petrified going into that game.

‘I was worried about getting off the mark with the bat and then hoping I didn’t misfield when the ball came to me, but those guys put me at ease.

‘So this time I imagine I will be petrified again!

‘Petrified is probably the wrong word but I will certainly be nervous.

‘But if you aren’t nervous, then you have something more to worry about.

‘I will be quite jittery before the game – when you’ve said your piece to the players and then it’s up to you to perform when the game starts. But it’s a big occasion and it’s an incredible feeling playing at Lord’s. It’s a privilege to be captain.’

For a player who was unsure of his place in the side five years ago, Adams has grown into a senior batsman in all formats of the game.

And he has shown his leadership qualities after taking on the first-class and CB40 captaincy full-time over the winter.

In stark contrast to ex-Hampshire batsmen who have recently been in the media spotlight – or perhaps recently-retired captains of the club – Adams’ style underlines the fact you don’t have to be arrogant, aloof or confrontational to get respect and performances from your team-mates.

But while he might be self-effacing, laid-back and rarely loses his rag, the powerful left-hander is driven – and is determined to lead his side to success for some considerable time.

He said: ‘It’s quite amazing to lead Hampshire out at Lord’s.

‘When you grow up – even in recent years – you watch other people do it and there is a bit of a green-eyed monster there.

‘I thought I was fortunate to just walk out and play at Lord’s but to lead a team out is something I hadn’t really contemplated.

‘It will be nerve-wracking but I’m looking forward to it.

‘You don’t get to experience it very often and you don’t want to walk off the pitch thinking “I want to do it differently next time”.

‘This is our opportunity.’