Lewis McManus: A Team-First Mindset

Hampshire wicket-keeper batsman Lewis McManus discusses his role in the side and the importance of a team-first mindset

Patience has been key for Lewis McManus in his quest to be an established member of Hampshire’s first team.

Spells in the Second XI followed by a blow to the head from Yorkshire’s Duanne Olivier had seen the wicket-keeper batsman miss part of the 2019 season, side-lined with concussion.

But following his recovery, McManus returned to become an integral part of Hampshire’s Vitality Blast campaign last year and again in a truncated 2020 competition.

“While I was out of the side, I worked hard and knew what I needed to do to get back in. I worked hard off the pitch and thankfully got my chance to show what I can do.

“Most players will have a period out of the side and it’s more to do with how you deal with that, rather than it being an issue.”

Injuries have played their part in McManus’ career so far and the 26-year-old knows hard work was key to working his way back into the team.

“When I broke in a couple of years ago, I had a few setbacks with injury or form – at the time you think it’s the end of the world but sometimes you need that period of time to go back and think, what do I need to work on and improve on to be better at that level.

“When I eventually had that spell out of the side it gave me time to work out where I needed to take my game and where I needed to improve and I think I did that. It’s never been through a lack of effort with me, it’s been a matter of being a little clearer on what I need to be doing to be successful.”

His role as part of the lower-middle order has become founded over the past couple of seasons with a number of key performances, particularly in the side’s T20 efforts.

Arriving at the crease with four overs to go, whether it’s propelling his team up to a competitive total or carrying them over the line, McManus has accepted that his role is developing, something which he’s embracing.

“My role has slightly changed over the years – I’ve batted most of the time in the traditional keepers’ spot at 7 in both red-ball and limited-overs cricket. I’ve also had periods where I’ve opened to fill a gap for the team and I always want to be someone who will put their hand up for the side.

“Five years ago I wouldn’t have thought that being an attacking player at the end of the innings would be a strength of mine, but it was something I worked on and focused on in getting better to help the team – it’s a role I’m happy to do and I enjoy and one I want to continue to get better at.”

With McManus’ newly-founded role, comes an enormous amount of responsibility within the team and it requires him to be alert right from the game’s very first delivery.

“For me, I’ll always try and take in as much as I can in the dressing room or the dugout and then it’s a matter of knowing where your boundary options are based on what they do at that time of the innings.

“It’s a role where being fearless and committing 100% are important, you have to come in and get on with it straight away. It might not always go to plan and sometimes you have to take that risk but you have to see past that and see the rewards and what’s most important for the team.”

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