Sam Hain was simply asked: What was your best performance of the season?
In true Hain fashion, he smiles, looks away and reflects. “Red or white ball?” he says before turning away to think again. “If it’s four-day cricket then the 160 against Kent here, but if we’re saying white ball then Blast Off.”
Perfect. Just the topic we wanted to talk about.
After a few quiet weeks, seeing the men’s first team squad returning for winter training and the fixtures released in their entirety, cricket somewhat feels closer. Fans can now register for Blast Off priority.
And with Christmas just around the corner and the nights still creeping into the afternoon, we long for performances like that one on 20 May.
In front of a big crowd, that had watched Derbyshire v Lancashire a few hours before, Hain, as he seems to do in most games over the past few years, stepped up to the occasion.
At 32/3 and 51/4, it may have seemed that Blast Off could be a mere whimper for the home side, but not Hain. The right-hander swatted an unbeaten 83, striking seven fours and four sixes, to help the Bears reach an impressive 200/6.
“Being a multi-format player it’s difficult to go from red to white ball,” Hain discussed. “But over the last few years, I feel I’ve taken my white ball game to new heights.
“I’m trusting myself more at the crease, and because of that, I’m seeing more performances like the one I put in against Yorkshire, where I was able to steady the ship and get the team out of a sticky situation.
“It was quite nice to see the rewards that I’ve put in because not many people see that off-camera.”
With the Sky cameras in town, it was a brow-raising performance. Filled with Hain’s trademark dabs, cuts and leg-side clips, we saw the evolution of his white game.
Still early in his innings, Hain waited for Mike’s delivery before ramping him straight over the ‘keeper’s head for six.
“Wow,” was Ian Ward’s response. Edgbaston went crazy.
“I don’t know how to explain that,” joked the 28-year-old. “I mean, I don’t know. With my white-ball cricket, I’ve had to evolve. If you don’t evolve, you get left behind.”
Hain is part of the Hobart Hurricanes squad looking to secure their first Big Bash title and will fly out in the next week.
For us in the office, we’ll be watching him and waiting patiently for another exciting summer of cricket, which sees the return of Blast Off (Saturday 20 June) amongst seven appetising Blast fixtures.
“As a group of players there are always pre-match nerves,” Hain concluded. “So to settle them, like we did against Yorkshire, proved this group of players is special.
Speaking from a batter point he added: “We’ve got a group of batters who complement each other.
“Mousley and Benjamin, plus Bethell as well. You’ve got the slightly more orthodox players in myself and Yatesy and there’s Davo up top who also keeps.
“As you saw throughout the campaign, there were individual moments of brilliance, but as a squad and as a collective, we have a very good team.”