Cricket

Gogga ‘not set up to fail’

2012-06-26 16:19
Paul Adams (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Paul Adams has a “wonderful personality” and style of leadership that looks for solutions, Cape Cobras chief executive Prof Andre Odendaal has told Sport24.

He was speaking after Tuesday’s confirmation of popular left-arm spinner “Gogga”, 35, as new head coach of the franchise.

Along with Adams’s appointment, comes a change of the team’s leadership guard with Justin Ontong assuming the reins from Justin Kemp, after a slightly strife-torn 2011/12, and emerging wicketkeeper/batsman Dane Vilas becoming vice-captain.

Adams succeeding the recently-resigned Richard Pybus, who is now with the Bangladesh national side, is bound to ruffle some feathers as he takes over a traditional giant domestic franchise without prior experience at that level - his portfolio mostly includes academy-level coaching and as assistant to Vincent Barnes in the lone, lean season of the New Age Impi Twenty20 side.

 “We first of all looked at the direction we want to go in,” Odendaal said. “It is an opportunity, after losing someone with Richard’s experience, to relook at where we are.

“We’ve produced an amazing amount of players for other franchises - there’s a whole other franchise team you could pick made up of players from the Western Cape.

“We’ve worked very hard on the high-performance pipeline in the last three years. Just this morning, 12 young fast bowlers we’ve been working with for eight weeks were in this very room talking to (veteran Cobras and former Proteas pacemen) Charl Langeveldt and Johann Louw ... we are going to really concentrate on being as home-grown as possible.

“That said, we’ve also made some good moves with people from outside in the past. For the various competitions we will probably be looking at different combinations. The SuperSport Series, for example, is where you’ll want to bring your own cricketers through
as much as possible.

“We’re just very excited about this appointment ... this is a guy who has been here for 17 years. He’s young, yet been in the system for a long time.

“He’s always grabbed his opportunities in the past, has a wonderful personality, and a style of leadership that looks for solutions. We really back Gogga ... we haven’t appointed him to fail.

“Those days of appointing people to positions just to serve own purposes are no longer there. We want Paul and the team he will work with to go out and (succeed) and hopefully help South Africa, too.”

Considering that the main fabric of a cricket team is usually batsmen and seam bowlers, how is Adams, whose own pedigree is as a highly unorthodox spinner, planning to calm any doubters around the suitability of his appointment?

“We’ve got a great technical team around us, for starters. It’s just a question of building on those relationships,” Adams said.

“Certain players are playing at the top-flight level, for certain reasons, and it’s about getting them to understand where they go and creating an environment for them to keep growing and playing (an influential) role within Cape Cobras.

“People have asked questions of me, yes, but I’ve been through some levels of coaching; had five years in that (capacity).

“As a spin bowler of my type ... well, I’ve often had to break down my own action, learn a couple of things around it, the contortionist (laughing).

“It’s an exciting development for me to take on the team dynamic, to get it to work together.

 “I haven’t really left the (Cobras) structure from my time as a player to transition to coach ... I like to think the players have a lot of respect for what knowledge I have got and what I can bring to the side.

“I’ve also worked in our academy structure for the past two or three years and really been very much in touch with the up-and-coming cricketers around the entire Western Cape.”

Adams represented South Africa, with his famous frog-in-a-blender action, for nine years in both Test and ODI cricket, earning 69 appearances between both.

His final first-class appearance was in 2008 after several years battling to replicate the novelty and trickery of his earliest ones.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing
 

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