Hampshire star backed for England call

James Vince. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
James Vince. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

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Jimmy Adams is certain it is just a matter of time before James Vince gets the England call.

The 23-year-old hit an outstanding double century in the Championship destruction of Essex and returns to lead the side in their latest Natwest T20 Blast clash at home to Gloucestershire tonight (7pm).

With calls growing for Vince to be given the international nod, it could yet come at a costly price for Hampshire’s ambitions this season.

But while the Hampshire skipper believes it may be a shade too soon for the Test call, he believes a one-day international call-up is not far away.

Adams said: ‘It’s a case of “when” as opposed to “if” for Vincey and England.

‘The Test team might be a bit too soon. The new guys seem to have taken their chances fairly well against Sri Lanka.

‘But the one-day stuff will certainly come his way at some point – maybe later this season.

‘I think his game is suited to playing at Test match level. The bowlers are better but the wickets are better, too.

‘He’s a fantastic talent and he will go a long way, I hope, but at the moment, we are happy he is still with us.’

It’s been an extraordinary start to the campaign for the batsman with 1,046 Championship runs – including three centuries and five half-centuries – at an average of 80.46.

He is the top scorer in division two by a distance, while in t20 cricket, he has mustered 220 runs at an average of 44 with a top score of 68 and three half-centuries.

Adams is wary of heaping too much pressure on his team-mate but he believes he would be a major asset to the England side.

Adams said: ‘I’m reluctant to hype him up too much.

‘But he’s adapted to every level where he has stepped up. He has got the game and the head on his shoulders to move into the top category. He can change games.

‘England have lost Kevin Pietersen, who scores at a high strike-rate and Vincey does it very naturally.

‘It would be wrong of us to assume he can take on the mantle.

‘But at the moment, he is showing that ability to do it at this level.’

The comparison with the outspoken Pietersen is in the chalk-and-cheese category – with Vince an unassuming and almost shy character.

But as fast-scoring batsmen, there are real similarities.

Adams is hopeful Vince’s calm and laid-back demeanour will not dent his hopes.

He said: ‘It’s a nice part of what he brings. He has got an inner confidence but he is a modest and humble lad.

‘I just hope that doesn’t work against him because sometimes those guys who leap out and say “I want to play for England” and make a big thing of it, get more recognition.

‘I hope people will look at his stats and his record does the talking.’

Adams added: ‘He is amazing. I’ve batted with him at times when he has made centuries and made it look very easy and as we’ve come off he’s said “it doesn’t quite feel right”.

‘Once he gets in, everything is so sweetly-timed. It must be soul-destroying for a bowling side.

‘He is a natural ball-striker and he is maturing all the time.

‘There haven’t been many that I’ve played with that can take a game away like he can and do it in a way that looks effortless.’