Double delight for Adams
Mushtaq Ahmed’s career-best figures powered Sussex to their second County Championship title in four years as they wrapped up an innings win over Nottinghamshire inside three days.
It was close on inevitable that the Pakistani leg-spinner - synonymous with so much of Sussex’s success - should once again be the driving force behind their Trent Bridge landslide.
Mushtaq finished with 9-48 - and his Sussex-best match figures of 13-108 - on his way to topping 100 wickets for the season for a second time as Notts were bowled out twice in little more than 80 overs to lose by an innings and 245 runs.
While the hosts must contemplate the highly probable prospect of a return to Division Two only 12 months after they won the top-flight title, Sussex captain Chris Adams can proclaim his team the best.
He did just that as he reflected on not just the title but Sussex’s C&G Trophy final victory over their closest four-day challengers, Lancashire.
“The real satisfaction is doing the double,” said Adams.
“We put ourselves in a top-four bracket - but I think doing the double makes us the best team in county cricket this year.”
Adams, coach Mark Robinson and Mushtaq himself have all stressed that important contributions have come throughout the team rather than only from a clutch of star performers. “Everybody will talk about Mushy, as well as Rana (Naved-ul-Hasan) and (Yasir) Arafat,” Adams conceded.
“But the beauty about this team is that we all do our bit when it is needed - and then allow Mushtaq to do what he does.
“We have proved there is more to Sussex than using pitches conducive to leg-spin in four-day cricket.
“We are versatile, we cover most bases, and 11 of the 18 players on the staff have come through the club.”
Asked to compare Sussex’s second championship with their maiden title under his captaincy - after drawing a blank for more than a century - Adams said: “This is different.
“You won’t ever take away the special moment when we won it for the first time.”
He nonetheless rates the 2006 grapple with Lancashire as a much tougher contest - and described the moment the title was finally won as akin to a marathon runner “collapsing” over the line.
“It was a great feeling to have gone through the mill and finally done it,” he added.
“I’m really pleased we’ve won it the hard way. I’ve said all year that at no stage should we take the easy path.
“Take the hard one, because it is the hard path that will produce the goods - and it has.”
The satisfaction appears all the greater for the effort expended, and Adams - set to cede the captaincy at the end of next season - can already reflect on a job remarkably well done.
“I’ve done nine years as captain - which is a long time,” he said.
“If and when the time comes for me to step aside I’ll be completely fulfilled in the job and believe I’ve done everything I possibly could to represent this county in the right way.
“The achievement of double championships and the C&G is everything I could have wished for and more.”