It has been quite the month for Ross Adair.
The 26-year-old finally got to make his long-awaited debut for CSNI in July after moving from Holywood, has scored 129 runs in two Northern Knights practice games and now has been called up to the senior team for their Inter-Provincial Twenty20 campaign which starts on August 20 against the North West Warriors.
It has been a rapid acceleration for Adair who was playing in Section One last season and has still only played four top-flight league games this season.
His talent and brutal ball-striking has been there to see for many years now but with rugby playing a starring role, cricket had to take a backseat and Adair has previously been limited in the amount he can play each summer.
Now retired from professional rugby, he has been able to spend more time on the cricket field with great success.
Adair scored 92 off 38 balls in CSNI’s Robinson Services Cup victory over Carrickfergus at the weekend, smashing six fours and eight sixes during his hour-long stay at the crease as he shared a first-wicket partnership of 156 with Marc Ellison (59*) on their way to chasing 166 in just 14 overs.
“We had nothing to lose so you can go out with a fresh head,” he said.
“There’s no fear. It’s trying to find a line between the fear of getting out and throwing your wicket away.
“I know where my scoring shots are and if the ball is pitched in a certain area I will hopefully try and hit it for a four or six.
“There are some shots I just wouldn’t play and if I did get out to one of those shots I would be annoyed.
“Elly was smoking it at one end so if you have two batsmen going hard at either end, it’s tough to bowl at.”
Adair batting in a pre-season friendly against Carrickfergus. ©CricketEurope
Adair appears to be a very relaxed individual who likes to keep it simple and doesn’t get tangled up in any sort of expectation or pressure.
The 2020 season has been reduced to solely Twenty20 cricket which has undoubtedly helped bring the best out of Adair, but he says even in the longer formats not much would be different in terms of his approach to the game.
“I was anxious about it to start with because I wasn’t sure how I would get on,” he said of stepping up to a higher level.
“Twenty20 really suits me but even if it was 50 overs, I wouldn’t be changing too much. I would still try and play my shots even if it was 50 overs.
“Sometimes it comes off and others it doesn’t, and that’s just the way it is.
“I think cricket is very mindset-orientated and if you can switch it up and go between formats then it’s even better.
“White ball cricket in general suits me better than anything red ball, which was kind of a pull to playing in the Premier League because you don’t play much white ball cricket in the lower leagues.”
A promotion to Inter-Provincial level came much quicker than even he expected with Adair more focused on securing a spot in his club side rather than looking too far up the pyramid.
His run of performances have left the Knights selectors no option but to pick him and he’s among the contenders to open the batting alongside Paul Stirling in the opening game.
He will be in action on Thursday, playing for a Northern side against their Southern counterparts at Wallace Park before another fixture at Malahide on Monday, which acts as the perfect warm-up for a potential debut.
Ross Adair. ©CricketEurope
“If I’m playing a sport, I want to play it at the highest level I can.
“That was the same in rugby – I always wanted to get to the highest possible level I could.
“I was just happy trying to get on the Civil team first and foremost because you can’t just walk into a club and expect to play.
“I’m not thinking too far ahead. I didn’t think I would be in the Knights even.
“I just thought I was coming to Civil to hit about in the Premier League for a season and then see where we go.
“I was involved in the Emerging stuff last year but I wasn’t expecting to be involved as much as I have been. I’m happy with how it’s gone and I’ve been really enjoying my cricket.
“I knew I was going to be playing in the North vs South games but it’s a bit surreal looking at the (Knights) squad.
“You’ve got 11 internationals plus four guys who are well-proven at that level and then there’s me.
“With it being a T20 tournament, it’s probably not a bad time to get me in the mix and give me a go.”
A call-up to the Knights means he could be back playing on the same team as younger brother and Irish international, Mark.
The last time that happened would have been in club cricket at Holywood but it’ll be slightly different if they were to share the same field over the course of the upcoming six-game tournament.
“Playing with your brother at any level is pretty good.
“The last time I would have played with him was at Holywood so any chance I get to play with Mark is always a bonus.
“It’s a good drive because the big brother doesn’t want to be outdone by his wee brother! I have to try and keep up with him.”
The sky is the limit for Adair right now if he can continue on a similar trajectory and keep churning out runs with more consistency.
Whatever happens, he will be heading into every game without fear.
“It’s always good to set goals but I’m very relaxed and am a ‘if it happens, it happens’ kind of guy.
“If I’m scoring runs that’s great or if I get out I can go again next week. It’s weird but it seems to be paying off for me.
“I feel like guys who go in without the fear of getting out can go and express themselves more.
“I can get a first baller and that’ll be the way it is but I could come off and get 60 off not many.
“It goes one of two ways and if it comes off you look good and if it doesn’t you don’t look great. It’s a risk but playing with that freedom definitely helps me.”
Northern Knights T20 squad (as first reported by the Belfast Telegraph): M Adair, R Adair, J Cameron-Dow, D Delany, M Ellison, S Getkate, G McCarter, J McCollum, J Manley, J Mulder, R Pretorius, P Stirling, H Tector, G Thompson, CJ van der Walt, G Wilson.