Wheater: Chelmsford return doesn’t worry me

Adam Wheater, second left, had enjoyed a good start at Hampshire. Picture: Neil Marshall
Adam Wheater, second left, had enjoyed a good start at Hampshire. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Adam Wheater played down his return to Essex and shrugged: They have no reason to abuse me.

The 23-year-old left Chelmsford on the eve of the new season after seeing his opportunities to keep wicket in the first team restricted.

As he prepared for his first trip back to his old stomping ground, the glovesman insisted he was right to leave.

And he played down the notion the Essex supporters or players will give him any stick on his return as Hampshire being their latest four-day clash today (11am) – fresh from their demolition of Worcestershire.

He said: ‘I don’t know what sort of reception I will get – I haven’t really thought about it.

‘I left on good terms. It wasn’t as if I ran out of the changing room swearing and cursing at everyone.

‘I’ve got a lot of friends in that side, so from that point of view, it will be fine.

‘But I’m not sure what the old faithful supporters will say.

‘The t20 games can be a bit spicy but the four-day games are usually a bit more chilled out.

‘I think they’ll understand why I left and if they do have something to say, they are not on the right reasoning.’

While t20 games at Chelmsford have been likened to a baying bearpit in the past because of a fiercely partisan home crowd, the four-day games are rather more sedate.

But Wheater knows it is more than just another game for him – especially as he has some inside information on his former team-mates.

He said: ‘It’s a bit of a different game.

‘I always knew when I signed for Hampshire that we would be playing them six times and this is the first of six.

‘If I have a decent performance against them, I’m sure I will be a little bit more happy at the end of the week.

‘The players are my mates so I have probably got a bit of ammunition against them.

‘I doubt I will have any friends when we cross the line, though.

‘But I don’t know if it helps that I know their games so well.

‘A lot of people just play on instinct. It may be a slight advantage knowing where they can go wrong.

‘I haven’t had much stick from them as yet. They haven’t had a great start to the year so it will be tough for them to jump on that bandwagon too much.

‘But I will be doing everything in my power to make sure Hampshire get another win.’

One man standing in the way of a second successive win for Jimmy Adams’ side is England skipper Alastair Cook, who will be making a rare appearance for his county.

Wheater, who scored 98 in the corresponding fixture for Essex last season, said: ‘He won’t play for them many times this year and they will be hoping he scores some runs.

‘But when I have played with him, he’s found county cricket tough. So it’s not as if he has found it any different to us.

‘He is still going to struggle with the swinging ball if we bowl well at him.

‘They are a dangerous side and they have a lot of potential.

‘But I think it’s a good time to play them and it will be a good challenge.’

The wicketkeeper also insisted he was pleased with his start to his Hampshire career after displacing Michael Bates.

He said: ‘It’s been a good start and that is something I was conscious of when I first came in. Long may it continue.’