Adams revels in Lions experience
Jimmy Adams believes he and the rest of the England Lions squad will benefit hugely from their time in the Caribbean this winter.
The Lions are competing in the West Indies Cricket Board regional four-day championship and have yet to be beaten in the competition, which began at the beginning of February.
After a recent break, in which the squad have been able to recharge their batteries, Adams and his team-mates return to action on Friday when they begin their match against Guyana at Providence Stadium, with games against Windward Islands and Jamaica rounding off the campaign.
“It’s been quite a long old trip and the break probably came at quite a nice time for us,” Adams told ecb.co.uk.
“The standard has been decent and it’s been harder for us I suppose because the conditions have been a bit different, but that’s all part of playing in different parts of the world.
“It (the tour) mirrors very well what guys have to do when they reach that top level. The guys who have been away for the Ashes just recently have spent a huge amount of time away from home, so dealing with that is one thing and obviously playing in different environments and different conditions is all part of that learning curve too.
“There’s been a really good team spirit here so that’s been a great part of it. You need to have a bit of camaraderie to get through a long tour.”
Those involved with the Lions will have little time for a break before the new county season starts in early April, but the Hampshire batsman insists this is not a concern.
“It’s quite a lot of cricket but it’s pretty good preparation coming in having played a decent amount and if we can come away from here feeling in reasonably decent touch then we can go into the season with a bit of confidence,” Adams explained.
"The conditions will be different again, but that’s always the case, even when you’re at home you go from indoors to outdoors.
“If you want to aim for that highest level you are going to be playing cricket year-round so it’s a pretty good challenge for us and a chance to learn about it.”
A notable feature of the Lions tour thus far has been the number of players producing impressive individual performances.
Adams became the fifth batsman to record a century when he struck 142 against Combined Campuses & Colleges last time out, and the team’s bowling attack has also functioned strongly, with Jade Dernbach and Danny Briggs leading the way.
“It’s been one of the great things about it and it’s why it’s quite a good unit,” Adams added. “Everyone has had their time in the middle and everyone’s performed and had their time with the ball as well.
“For some of the guys, it’s not necessarily come down to wickets. They’ve done a very good job and it hasn’t always transferred itself into the wickets column, but they’ve done a very good job for the team on a pitch that’s been fantastic."
Adams made just five and 10 in the opening two matches against Leeward Islands and Barbados, but found his feet with a half-century against Trinidad and Tobago before playing a starring role against CC&C, where he followed his first-innings hundred with 72 in the second innings.
“I was a bit jittery after the first couple of innings,” he admitted. “You do start to fret a little and probably worry more than you need to, so it’s always nice to get that monkey off your back.
“It was nice for me and a relief in many ways. In all the warm-up games I had got starts and not really gone on so it was nice to be able to raise the bat.
“I spent a bit of time playing short-form cricket this winter and perhaps it was just a case of getting back to trying to spend time at the crease.
“I felt I got out to some indifferent shots in the first couple of games, going after balls instead of sticking to the gameplan that seems to have worked reasonably well in the last few years.
“It was just a case of getting back to that, trying to bat a bit of time, trying to make it through to a break in a session or lunch or whatever it was and it seemed to work.”
Adams is now hoping to impress in the remaining fixtures as the Lions, currently third in the table, aim to take over from current leaders Jamaica at the top.
“I think there’s probably a bit of expectation on us to perform well in this competition. Other teams see us as a strong side,” he said.
“We want to finish top of the table, but trying to force victories out here has proved a little bit harder than we possibly thought after the first game. It’s been pretty tricky to take 20 wickets, but I’m sure we’ll get our chances over the coming games.
“If we can perform well then we can come back having done ourselves proud.”