Adams on the Ashes: Hampshire skipper on England's series defeat and Carberry's positive showing (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Adams on the Ashes: Hampshire skipper on England's series defeat and Carberry's positive showing
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams expects Michael Carberry to continue opening England’s batting next summer.
It will be fascinating to see how England respond to losing the Ashes when they host Sri Lanka and India in 2014.
There are sure to be some changes, but Adams expects Carberry to retain his place as Alastair Cook’s opening partner, as one of the few positives to emerge from England’s three successive Ashes defeats.
Graeme Swann is the only member of England’s Ashes squad older than 33-year-old Carberry, but only Ian Bell has scored more runs than the Hampshire batsman’s 188 at 31.3.
Importantly, Carberry has made his top three Ashes scores – 40, 60 and 43 – in the first innings of each Test.
“Carbs has been steady, he’s come out of the series so far in a pretty good light,” said Adams, his opening partner for Hampshire. “He’s looked at ease at the crease but has just found ways to get out, which has been a shame.
“He’s struggled to score big when he gets in which is usually a strength of his. But he’s been positive against high-quality bowling and that should stand him in good stead.
“Unfortunately no-one else around him has got runs and I can’t see anyone they could bring in who would be better in that position.
“I imagine Sam Robson will be in the selectors’ thoughts and from the reports I’ve heard, they liked the way Vincey (James Vince) went about his business with the England Performance Programme in Australia.
“But Carbs deserves a fair crack at it now. I’m sure that when he gets his first big score he’ll be away.”
Carberry’s fielding has come under the spotlight, particularly his drop in Adelaide, which gave Brad Haddin a let-off on five. Haddin went on to make 118.
“It hasn’t just been Carbs, others have dropped catches and he’s been one of our better fielders on the whole,” continued Adams.
“It’s just been one of those series where the Aussies have made us pay for every mistake.”
There has at least been one significant positive for England.
Ben Stokes’s magnificent century at the WACA brought back memories of the day he clubbed Hampshire’s Liam Dawson for five successive sixes in an LV County Championship match at The Ageas Bowl, when still a teenager.
Stoke’s 120 is, by some distance, the stand-out performance of the series by an England player. But that tells its own story.
“With all due respect to Stokes and Carbs, when the least experienced guys lead the way in the series and not Cook, KP, Anderson and Bell, you know things have started to go wrong,” said Adams, who has also been alarmed by the level of sledging throughout the series.
“I’m not surprised by the amount of sledging but it seems to be genuine animosity,” he said. “It’s got fairly personal and there are vendettas people are trying to push through. I don’t think the Stuart Broad incident in the summer has helped.
“The Aussies have had a lot of stick and have probably copped a lot themselves from the Poms.
“But it doesn’t seem to be staying on the field. I don’t imagine there have been too many beers shared between the two sets of players, which is always something [Australia coach] Darren Lehmann was very big on when he played county cricket for Yorkshire.
“It seems that a lot of the players don’t even want to be in the same room as each other! “I know a lot of the guys reasonably well and I’d be interested to hear George Bailey’s side of it.
“But you have to hand it to Australia, they’ve gone about their game a certain way and have played a brand of cricket that I didn’t think they were capable of producing so consistently.
“They’ve found a way to win. They’ve been ultra competitive and have the type of guys you want in your team but don’t want to play against.
“Warney was the ultimate example of that, he was prepared to push the boundaries for his side to win a game.
“Some might not agree but that’s professional sport and David Warner seems to be of the same ilk. It makes them insufferable winners, but they’ve been excellent.”
Adams is as surprised as anyone by the fact that Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn have only played one Test between them.
“I expected the series to be tough but never thought it would be so one sided,” he said. “At one point I think they had scored 1,000 runs more than us, which is an incredible amount over less than three Tests.
“Playing back-to-back Ashes series was probably to our disadvantage, there hasn’t been much time to recharge and maybe our bowlers are more brittle than we thought.”
Adams, a former Lions batsman and England Under-19 international, was reflecting on the Ashes failure en route to the national academy at Loughborough, where he is helping to coach the next generation.
He will spend the next week helping his former Hampshire teammate Iain Brunnschweiler, now an England development coach, during a training camp for an Under-17s group including Hampshire duo Joe Weatherley, another St Cross Symondians’ batting prodigy, and Brad Taylor.
“There are some very talented players coming through, particularly a lad from Lancashire and Joe’s ahead of myself at that age, he’s made some big strides,” said Adams.
“A lot can happen between 17 and when they come to make their first-class debut, but there are some very promising players going in the right direction.
“They have excellent facilities up there, they really work them hard and the boys respond well.
“They’re put under pressure and tested and challenged. I was first involved in October and was really encouraged by the way they approached it.
“I’ve been very impressed by their work ethic and character, it bodes very well.”
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