It seemed many casual observers of county cricket were only alerted to the prowess of Andre Adams late last season, yet regular visitors to Trent Bridge have been well aware of his continued excellence for some time.

The New Zealander grabbed plenty of headlines as Notts clinched the County Championship Division One title – and not just because it was he who snared the crucial final wicket to spark wild last-day celebrations.

He was also lauded for his feat of ending the campaign as leading first-class wicket-taker in the country during the 2010 summer with an impressive tally of 68 from 14 matches at 22.17.

But the fact was, Adams had long since been a mainstay for the green and golds, going about his work quietly, but very effectively.

The 35-year-old was leading wicket-taker for his adopted county in 2009, when he collected 43 in 11 matches at 28.46 as they finished second to Durham.

He was also on the money in 2008, when despite only playing in half of the club's four-day games, still captured 31 wickets in 19.16.

And even in 2007, when he joined for the latter stages of Notts' successful Division Two promotion bid, he chipped in with 14 victims at 35.78.

Having been such a paragon of consistency, it's no surprise that Adams plans to change precious little in his fifth season at Trent Bridge.

And judging by his opening performance against Hampshire at Trent Bridge last week – where he claimed career-best match figures of 11-85 – that would seem a prudent strategy.

"It was a fantastic season last year and it's great to be back and looking forward to what I hope will be another successful year," said Adams.

"It's important for me to try to be as much of a threat as I was last year. I will just go about things in the same way – trying to keep pressure on the batsmen and the opposition.

"I didn't have a target in terms of wickets last season and I won't have one this season either.

"It's a question of being consistent above anything else, because that's when you get success."

With Ryan Sidebottom now out of the picture, having moved back to his home county Yorkshire, who Notts visit today, Adams will now be seen as the go-to man in the seam attack.

It is something the veteran of 42 one-day internationals is happy to take on, especially now the likes of Luke Fletcher and Andy Carter are trying to make their mark.

Adams said: "I know it is going to be one of my responsibilities to help the younger bowlers this year.

"We have some good youngsters coming through and if they want to learn and ask questions of me, then I will do my best to help them.

"Some of them are going to get some advice whether they want it or not!

"Without Sid, they are going to have to take more of a lead, but don't forget Charlie Shreck is back bowling for us now.

"He is someone who we know can take a lot of wickets once he gets back to full fitness.

"There is good competition in the seam bowling department and hopefully we can respond well, like last year."

With County Championship games front-loaded into the early season – Notts will complete seven of their 16 four-day games by June 1 – Adams knows the importance of getting a solid start.

That is why he has given himself the best possible chance by taking a break following the conclusion of his winter cricket with Auckland.

"It has been an eventful winter," said Adams. "I've had a few weeks off and been to California and in the season we won our Twenty20 and one-day domestic competitions but were last in the four-dayers.

"It was the polar opposite to the 2010 season I had with Notts, where we obviously won the title.

"I had a good break leading up to this to try to refresh the body after my time playing in New Zealand.

"It doesn't make any difference what the schedule is like, you just have to make the most of it. It's tough on the body and it's quite easy for guys to get injured and miss a few games.

"It's just a case of bowling with your capabilities and not pushing yourself too hard."

Notts' obvious target after the triumph of last season is to repeat their feat in 2011.

But Adams says that is easier said than done, as proved by the way Hampshire came at them last week at Trent Bridge.

He said: "It is always going to be hard when you have won the Championship because everyone wants to beat you.

"But we have finished second, second, first in the last three seasons, so we have to be confident.

"The pressure has seemed to help us in the past if anything.

"We will be seen as the benchmark, but there are going to be others – Yorkshire, Somerset and Durham among them, who will run us hard.

"How we play at home is important. It will always do something at Trent Bridge, you just have to make sure you score enough runs.

"That was what we did well last season. We batted better than most of the other sides who came to our ground."

Matt Halfpenny is the Midlands Sports Journalist of the year and follows Nottinghamshire for the Nottingham Post.