TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
PAUL Adams will continue as Cobras coach next season but whether the faces in his dressingroom will be familiar to him is less certain.
Adams’ future was assured when the Western Cape Cricket (WCC) board “expressed a vote of confidence” in him at a meeting on Monday, according to a WCC release.
“No material break of the coach’s contract was established,” the release said.
The WCC would no doubt like to believe that’s the end of an issue that came to a head when the majority of the Cobras’ contracted squad formally lodged a complaint against Adams.
That hope is likely to be in vain.
No-one can accuse the suits of not trying to handle the matter properly.
They appointed an independent panel to investigate and the panel appointed a mediator, which was also the way the SA Cricketers’ Association wanted things done.
But differences in what the mediator – former SA team director Paddy Upton – found and what the WCC apparently hoped to hear can be deduced from a sentence in the release: “The board found material deficiencies in Upton’s report as he did not fully discharge the mandate given to him to speak to all the contracted players.”
Which would seem to mean that Upton did not talk to players who were not unhappy with Adams.
If that is true it is both a problem and a non-issue.
Upton should have interviewed all the contracted players if that was his brief.
But you would hope the board would be rather more interested in what the disgruntled players had to say than those who have no issue with Adams.
Why players are unhappy with Adams remains unspecified.
He has won or shared five trophies across all formats in his four years in charge and guided five previously uncapped players to international level.
That’s what’s obvious from outside the dressingroom.
How strong Adams’ coaching and management skills are is less obvious, and it’s these areas that reportedly have raised the ire of certain players.
“We have no doubt that (Adams) possesses the vision and leadership abilities to propel the Cobras to the summit of all three domestic logs and return them to their trophy-hugging ways,” the release quoted WCC chair Angelo Carolissen as saying.
“Paul will have the support of … Ashwell Prince as assistant coach and … Alan Dawson as convenor of the selection committee.”
Those appointments were announced the day before news broke of the complaint having been lodged against Adams.
And there would seem to be more help for Adams on the way, what with Carolissen saying that “we are looking to further bolster the support team to serve all the needs of our players”.
The WCC are, unsurprisingly, focused on keeping the peace.
“Unity is not negotiable,” Carolissen was quoted as saying.
“As a board we will have a hands-on approach to grow Adams’ leadership prowess.
“We will also commit ourselves to improving the morale, spirit and work ethic of the team even more as they are stakeholders of enormous value to the WCC board.”
Adams sounded both chastened and in control in his quoted comments: “I respect the players and have taken the learnings from this past winter to heart.
“I feel we will have a better understanding of each other going forward.
“Part of my strategy to turn around the fortunes of the team was to secure the services of Ashwell Prince and Alan Dawson.
“I have also committed to up-skilling myself to ensure effective leadership and to produce and maintain the quality and brand of cricket that the Cape Cobras are synonymous for.”
None of which will mean much if the players who lodged the complaint decide they haven’t got what they wanted and opt to leave the franchise.
The ball is now in their half of the pitch.