Interview with Andre Adams

After 17 years playing first class cricket, Andre Adams hung up his boots in May, calling time on a career that took him from the might of the Melbourne Cricket Ground to the calm of Canterbury.

Now settling in to a coaching role in his home town of Auckland, One Stump Short caught up with the popular New Zealander to look back at his storied career.

With a host of domestic honours to his name, and tours of Pakistan, South Africa and Australia under his belt, Adams career has provided a life times worth of memories; but it was success at home that set him on his way.

“There were a few stand out memories through my playing career.” Adams said. “But my First Class debut for Auckland against Otago was a great feeling. I knew right then I wanted to maintain that ‘feeling’, to make cricket my job. I scored 50 off 20 balls in that game, which in 1998 was pretty big news!”

Adams swashbuckling style made him a fan favourite wherever he went, and his skills with bat and ball soon saw him become an integral part of Auckland’s first XI.

“I was lucky to be part of a pretty successful Auckland side over the years, and we won a lot of trophies. The first Plunket Shield title under Tony Sail, and the five day final against Wellington, stand out as my favourite Provincial memories.”

Adams also enjoyed limited over success with Auckland, winning the Ford Trophy in 2007 and 2013, but played just one Test for New Zealand, against England in 2002. Adams took 3-44 and 3-61 to help New Zealand secure a 78 run victory at Auckland’s Eden Park, understandably one of the high points of his career.

“Playing and winning my first, and only, Test Match was pretty special. It’s right up there with winning the County Championship with Notts in 2010.” Adams recalls.

A back injury, sustained during New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies that summer, limited Adams opportunities with the Test team – as Jacob Oram solidified his place in the national side – but the talented all rounded went on to represent New Zealand in 42 One Day Internationals.

“My international career was sporadic. When I made my debut in Sharjah (vs Sri Lanka) in 2001, it was a New Zealand team missing quite a few key players, so they called it a ‘development tour’. It was a weird feeling playing in that situation.” Adams recalls. “But I made the squad to tour Australia in 2002, for the VB Series. That was my favourite time with the Black Caps, we had an excellent team.”

Adams international career was spread across six years, with his final game coming in January 2007; but in that time the Auckland native had already seen the international game begin to change.

“Bangladesh were real minnows when they started, but now they compete with, and beat, the best in the World; where as Zimbabwe were an excellent side when I was younger – with the Flower bothers, Dave Houghton and Heath Streak – but they’ve really fallen away….even though they beat New Zealand recently!” Adams laughs.

As his career progressed, changes to the game as a whole became more apparent to Adams.

“I would say that during my time playing the game, batsmen definitely have less fear now, and are always looking to score. It has become nearly impossible to tie a side down without the help of the wicket.”

The rise of Twenty20 cricket has certainly led to increased run rates and the kind of aggressive chases we see in all formats now, a change which is not lost on Adams

“Twenty20 is the force behind the new ‘excitement machine’ that cricket has become. Every format has benefited from it’s prominence, and you no longer see boring, drawn out five day Test Matches.”

With his aggressive batting and crafty bowling, Adams style of play seemed perfect for the 20 over format, and in 71 Twenty20 matches Adams would go on to take 87 wickets at at an average of 22.

Enjoying spells with the Royal Bengal Tigers in the now defunct Indian Cricket League, and Khulna Royal Bengals of the Bangladesh Premier League, Adams found Twenty20 success with Auckland as part of the Aces’ side that won the HRV Cup in 2007 (with Adams blasting a career best 54* from 31 balls in the final), 2011 and again in 2012.

Adams also represented Auckland at the T20 Champions League in India, but like many is keen to ensure the formats success doesn’t undermine other areas of the game.

“Twenty20 has it’s place” Adams said “But as the World Cup showed, 50 over cricket still has it’s place too. Test Cricket will always be the pinnacle, and the ICC should strive to protect it’s integrity. It is the birth place, or the origin, of our great game. So it needs to be held carefully and protected.”

With discussions over the future of Test and long format cricket, amid the increasing influence of Twenty20 competitions, proposed changes to the English Twenty20 tournament have become a hot button topic among fans; but Adams believes the ECB’s proposal does have some merit.

“The Twenty20 franchise is a good thing. Better teams, higher standards and keeping players in the UK. What could go wrong…?” Adams smiles.

And that’s the asterisk against the proposal.

The 40-year old’s wry answer will strike a chord with many supporters, concerned that while the proposal might make the Twenty20 competition stronger, it could come at the expense of the County Championship. As a veteran of the game, Adams is well placed to look at the idea that we see ‘too much’ domestic cricket in England.

“The County Championship is supposed to be tough. That is what makes it so special. Keep it tough. Lose some of the white ball cricket, but keep the four day campaign strong. The Ashes is Test Cricket. The long format. End of story.”

Adams spent more than a decade plying his trade in England, first with Essex and finally with Hampshire; but it was the seven years he spent with Nottinghamshire he will be most remembered for.

“I played for Kimberley Institute Cricket Club in Nottinghamshire during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, and I had an amazing time there. My wife and I made so many good friends that it felt like Home.” Adams recalls, looking back at how he came to call Nottingham home for those years.

“When the call came from Darren Long, my agent and now a good friend – though someone I didn’t really know from a bar of soap at the time! – I had no interest in playing for anyone other than Notts.”

“Originally I told Darren I wasn’t interested in playing in England, as he hadn’t mentioned Notts at all, but then he said he would “call back in the morning”. Sure enough, he called the next day and told me it was “all sorted” and that I would need to be in Nottingham as soon as possible! I laughed and told him he was very lucky! I knew the area, I loved Trent Bridge and I needed a change.”

Joining Nottinghamshire under the Kolpak Agreement, Adams became an integral part of the Outlaws’ line up, taking 68 wickets in 2010 as Nottinghamshire won the County Championship.

“I owe Mick and Wayne Noon a hell of a lot. Without their faith I would have been another disgruntled ‘has been’ from New Zealand. They delayed that process by 8 years!”

In all, Adams took 344 first-class wickets for Nottinghamshire, at an average of 24.18 – and took more than 50 wickets in a season for four straight years between 2010 and 2013 – as he developed an affinity for the historic competition.

“I played for Essex for nearly three seasons as well, so played a bit of cricket in Division 2, and it’s clear Division 1 of the County Championship is very tough. The best sides hammer you for four days, if you last that long, and it’s a very special campaign that takes a lot of planning and hard work. The key is that you need to be a team.”

The emphasis Adams applies on the need to be a team is, sadly, triggered by a concerning trend within in the game.

“Recently I’ve seen too many individuals chasing ‘status’ as a whole. The emphasis has become about how much they can earn, and what car they drive, when that stuff takes care of itself if you do your job properly.”

“Player agents are too involved in the money making process, instead of giving good advice. Great stats will not always make someone a great person.”

Adams featured in three Championship games for Hampshire at the start of the 2015 season, but has now settled back in to life in New Zealand’s largest city, switching focus to the next stage of his career as a Coach.

While his playing career took him all over the world, Adams is happy to be home again; with the idea of coaching one of the Indian Premier League’s big money teams – or even following the example of other former Nottinghamshire players and taking the helm at Trent Bridge – a long way off.

“I am hoping to stay put for a while.” Adams said “The coaching experience has been incredibly rewarding already, and I hope to offer something that is not common in New Zealand in regards to playing experience. It will eventually lead me overseas of course, but not right now.”

Wherever his coaching career may now take him, Adams exploits will ensure his name will never be forgotten at Trent Bridge – where a warm welcome will always be ready for him.

Thanks to Andre for his time. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndreAdams

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About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on August 4, 2015, in Domestic Cricket, International Cricket, Interviews, New Zealand, Nottinghamshire and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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