7:00pm Friday 11th May 2012
By Simon Walter
JIMMY Adams admits that Bilal Shafayat has already given Hampshire a tough selection decision following his impressive debut.
Adams scored the county’s first century of the season while putting on 164 with former England Under-19 captain Shafayat, as Hampshire made 352-8 on the penultimate day of the rain-affected match against Derbyshire.
Batting at three after replacing Chris Wood, Shafayat hit the first of his 17 fours from the first ball he faced, clipping Tony Palladino to the fence through mid-wicket.
He punched cuts and stroked drives off the front and back foot all around The Ageas Bowl while making 93 from only 119 balls – his highest score in the LV County Championship for nearly four years.
Having signed on a short-term, match-by-match contract, it will now be very difficult to leave him out when Michael Carberry returns for next week’s big game against Yorkshire at Headingley.
“Bilal played magnificently, I’m very happy for him and it gives us a good but tough decision to make next week,” said Hampshire captain Adams.
“I’ve played against him a lot over the years, he started very young but he’s a wee bit older now and knows his game inside out.
“He looks very happy with himself and with his game. He’s shown he’s a very good player, he played beautifully and was a pleasure to bat with.”
Having missed Hampshire’s two previous Championship games, Adams was delighted to hit 122 (216 balls, 17 fours) after being put in.
“I would probably have out them in as well but fortunately the sun came out and we managed to make the most of it.
“[The pitch] probably played better than both captains thought.”
Adams was eventually run out by opposite number Wayne Madsen after being sent back by Sean Ervine.
“He’s one of the best fielders in the country and I walked off asking myself why I didn’t have a dive,” he smiled.
“It was a shame because at the time we could have cracked on and got an intimidating score.”
Adams now hopes to set up an interesting last day, despite the loss of the first two to rain. Madsen “wouldn’t rule out” the forfeiting of an innings, while Hampshire’s captain added: “They sound keen and we want to get something out of this and have an entertaining day’s cricket.”
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