A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Well bowled, Harold near legendary interviews - #1 Chris Adams

I know what you're thinking - "Good grief (or words to that effect), we hear nothing from this mug for six months then two blog articles come along in the space of a week......somebody has too much time on their hands". It may be a fair point, after all it's either this or watch some of the god-awful stuff that is passing for holiday TV scheduling. So, sorry about that.

I have been thinking (easy, Tiger) for some time that there has been something missing from Well bowled, Harold. An English Cricket blog - and before you say grammar, spelling, cricketing knowledge, factual accuracy or humour - no I'm not talking about any of those as I gave up on achieving any of them many moons ago. No, I'm talking about interviews, I decided that this blog needed interviews.

Now apparently, even in these modern days of social networking where nothing, especially people's meals and their cute kittens it seems, is private, you still cannot just demand interviews from people all willy-nilly like. Apparently being a mug who scribbles a blog isn't a defence in a court of law under the harassment laws - who knew? Well I do now. Thankfully I'm something of a sneaky little bugger (just ask my friends.......yes, I do bloody well have some!) and found a nice way to legally
pester and beg ask one or two cricketing figures if they would be so kind as to give me a few moments of their time. And blimey, it only went and worked.

When Chris Adams responded to my request to ask him some searching and prying questions with, "Sure, fire away"  - well in my mind I actually read that as "Thank god, Stuey, I've been waiting for an age for you to get in touch and chat.....your blog is amazing". Yes, funny you should ask, but the weather is indeed amazing on Planet Stuart.

Before the interview, 'borrowing' some details from the cricket writer Lawrence Booth and ESPNcricinfo staff, let me pass onto to you some facts & figures about Chris Adams.
"A front-foot bruiser, Adams veered from the ferocious to the fallible. He enjoyed a prosperous career at first Derbyshire, his home county for whom his scored over 8,000 first-class runs, and then with Sussex where his masterminded a transformation of the county from sleepy club by the sea to the most successful county in the first decade of the 21st century.

He was one of the most explosive batsmen in the county game and loved to hit the ball in the air..........

......Joined Sussex as a highly-paid captain in 1998, where he and Michael Bevan spent two summers rescuing the middle order. His hard work paid dividends in 2003 when he led Sussex to their first County Championship title and in April 2004 he was named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year. In 2006 he led Sussex to double success, winning the C&G Trophy and the Championship. 

At the end of the season a few eyebrows were raised when he announced he was moving to Yorkshire as player-coach. Less than a fortnight later even more were raised when he made a U-turn and decided to stay at Hove for 2007. He won the Championship again. But a year later, after Sussex clinched the Pro40 title, Adams announced he was standing down as captain after 11 years. He then hot-footed it to Surrey as their professional cricket manager, renewing his alliance with Gus Mackay, whom he worked with at Sussex.

.......The recovery was arduous with dead-wood needing to be removed and youngsters steadily incorporated. After a mediocre first season of only one victory in Division Two, Adams' gambled on 22-year-old Rory Hamilton-Brown and installed him as Surrey captain, despite him only having played eight first-class matches.

The policy took two years pay off but in 2011, Surrey, with four win from the final four matches, surged to promotion in the Championship and lifted the Clydesdale Bank 40 title - their first trophy for eight seasons. ........" 

Firstly, Chris, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few of my questions - it's a genuine honour.

Q) You made your 1st class debut in 1988 (just in case you forgot ;-) ) - the game, in all its formats, has changed immeasurably. For better or worse?

A) Much has changed indeed , the physicality most noticeably and I guess the intense introduction of sports science . Players are incredibly agile these days and pull off the most amazing displays in the field . As for the basic skills clearly there are a whole new group of innovative introductions post T20 . It's difficult to compare eras , good or bad , so it's best for me to say I enjoyed both decades very much.

Q) I personally fear for the future of Test cricket. Would you agree?

A) Still the games number 1 format for me and needs protecting as such! 

Q) What was your proudest moment as a player?

A) Many ..... being the first captain of Sussex to ever lift the County Championship in 2003 just shades receiving my England Test Cap .... only just!

Q You famously 'squared up to' Wasim Akram during the interval in the 1993 B&H final. Any chance of relating some of the comments that were exchanged between the two of you? :-)

A) He beamed me intentionally first ball in my debut Lords final .... I told him in no uncertain terms if he ever did it again I'd knock his block off .... he didn't and we are now on good terms.

Q) You had a nice & easy Test match introduction on the 1999 tour to South Africa when a certain Allan Donald was on hat-trick and England were 4 wickets down for 2 runs; No pressure then?!

A) Ironically it was the one innings for England I didn't feel any pressure ... let's face it I couldn't have done any worse ! 

Q) You weren't picked for England again after that tour. Any sour grapes?

A) No very few even get the privilege of playing for England so to play 5 tests was a proud achievement . I guess to come up against an attack of Donald Pollock Kallis And Klusener doesn't get much tougher .... I do believe though had I had another opportunity in the following three years I would have done much better but not to be ....

Q) The role of the cricket team coach has changed a great deal in the last 20 years. How did you find the transition from player to coach?

A) Like most aspects of life some of it came naturally , some came quickly due to past experiences and other aspects not so .... I am clear though that like a career as a player you continue to learn and improve each year as a coach based on all your experiences .

Q) As an exiled Yorkie myself, I was intrigued when it was announced that you were moving to Yorkshire as player-coach in 2007, then there was a quick reversal of the decision. Are you allowed to say why this happened?

A) There were several reasons for the turnaround and it would not be fair to highlight them .... I had always hoped to play for Yorkshire , it just wasn't meant to be . Delighted they won the CC last year .... Jason Gillespie and Colin Graves are two of crickets winners and both terrific men.

Q) What was the experience like of working with the Sri Lankan squad last summer?

A) Brilliant ..... except coaching against your own country was very very difficult.

Q) I believe that you'll be working with the Holland squad in the new year. In what capacity?

A) Technical advisor .... Coaching within the preparation programme for WCL2 and acting as a mentor and advisor to Anton Roux the coach.

Q) What are the future plans for Chris Adams, any exclusives?!

A) I enjoy consultancy coaching but hope to secure a permanent role in the future .... my track record is consistent with examples of winning , high achievement and I believe based on my experiences in recent years the next role I undertake will see the very best from me .

Once again Chris, many thanks again!

Best Wishes

I would once again like to thank Chris for taking the time out to answer a few of my questions.

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