After a three-month interview procedure the club’s chief executive Jamie Clifford described as “long, drawn out and as thorough a process as is possible to run”, Jimmy Adams was duly installed on Tuesday January 3 as Kent’s new head coach on a two-year deal.
When the press corps arrived at Canterbury, to be introduced to the former West Indies batsman, the St Lawrence Ground was under assault from 70mph winds and driving rain. By the time Adams finished his impressive 30-minute conference, the wind had abated and the sun shone. The omens for a happy tenure were already beginning to look good.
Though he has played and coached at the highest level, won 54 Tests caps and has helped head coach Ottis Gibson iron out a few batting problems in the current West Indies squad, his coaching credentials as the ‘main man’ are yet to be fully tested and his appointment at Kent will be seen as somewhere out of left field.
Yet Kent supporters will soon find that, in Adams, they now have a man at the helm who they will find difficult to dislike. His personality and passion for the sport shine through with every gesture and sentence and his smile can cut through tension better than any dressing room wisecrack.
He also admits to being excited by the prospect, but is far from blind to the challenges of taking over an underachieving second division side with a poor recent history for making the books balance.
“It’s an interesting challenge as I know Kent haven’t had the best of times both on and off the field in the last couple of seasons,” conceded Adams.
“But I also know it offers great opportunity and from that point of view I’m really looking forward to it. There are targets that need to be met, as would come with any job of this nature, but it would be great to settle into a role here where you could go beyond the initial phase and maybe build something that can grow for a very long time.
“There’s a lot of history for me here. I’ve played here of course and I used to follow Kent quite closely when Carl Hooper was here a few years ago. I’ve met up with people since then, like Mark Ealham and Dean Headley, who had long associations with the county, and their reports to me have always been positive.
“I’d like to see it as a win-win situation for everybody – a really good, interesting challenge for me, and an opportunity to build something that can last for a long time.”
Adams added that, through his punditry work with Sky Sports, he already knows Kent skipper Rob Key very well and that too was an important factor behind his initial application in October to replace Paul Farbrace.
The Jamaican said: “It’s a huge plus because it means I will have to spend less time in building what is, after all, a pretty important relationship. That time can now be used in different areas.
“I have a lot of relationships to build here, but that link with Rob has already started and will hopefully continue to grow and strengthen.
“Not every sports club is lucky enough to have a Roman Abramovich backing them and that (the budget) is one of the challenges of the job. I’m coming out of an environment in Jamaica where you had a definite shortage in resources and the question there was always, how can we do it?
“In many ways it’s the same for Kent. It’s not a case of asking what you don’t have, it’s more a question of working best with what you’ve already got and doing a good job given the resources you already enjoy.
“It will be challenging, and there’s a lot of development going on around here still which all costs money, so it’ll be a case of getting the balance right and making sure the game of cricket keeps moving forward.”
Adams returns to Jamaica later this week and will return to start his role with Kent as soon as he is granted a work permit.
Picture: Ady Kerry