Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams will keep his job after the Western Cape Cricket Board (WCC) offered their support despite a complaint lodged against him by 14 contracted players at the end of last season. The board held a meeting on Monday after a deadlock last Thursday to discuss Adams’ future.
Adams’ recently-issued two-year contract extension remains in place. The players were not involved in the meeting.
Instead, WCC studied a report compiled by former South Africa conditioning coach Paddy Upton, who was appointed a mediator in the matter after an independent panel was convened to assess the players’ grievances. WCC did not divulge the contents of the report or confirm whether they acted on it, but revealed that Upton had not followed through on his mandate to speak to all contracted players.
WCC chairman Angelo Carolissen insisted his office “deeply respects the concerns raised by the players,” which are believed to be centered on Adams’ management style.
“We have no doubt that he 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,” Carolissen said.
The 2015-16 season was the first in eight years that Cobras did not win a trophy, and Adams’ only barren season since taking over in 2012. At 35, he was franchise cricket’s youngest coach and he enjoyed immediate success. The Cobras won two competitions in Adams’ first summer in charge and went on to collect three more trophies in the next two seasons.
Lack of success last season brought rumblings of discontent, which Adams was made aware of as soon as the complaint was laid. He underwent a leadership course over the winter and has had his support staff bolstered with the addition of two former internationals in Ashwell Prince as assistant coach and Alan Dawson as convener of selectors. With the additional resources, Adams is confident he can return the franchise to winning ways.
“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,” Adams said. “Part of my strategy to turn around the fortunes of the team was to secure the services of Ashwell Prince and Alan Dawson. It excites me to be working together with the two former players who will bring vast experience and I am sure will add value to the Cobras. 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 Cobras are synonymous for.”
There has been no statement from the players, although there was an indication that if Adams was retained, several senior squad members may leave the franchise. With the new season two weeks away, that appears unlikely to occur just yet.
The Cobras’ 2016-17 season begins on October 5 with a first-class match against Lions in Johannesburg.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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