Cape Town - Paul Adams’ future as head coach of the Cape Cobras has been cast into doubt, amid fraught relationships with several of the franchise’s players.
While claims that Adams will promptly be succeeded by new assistant coach Ashwell Prince remain unsubstantiated, South African Cricketers’ Association Head of Player Services and Advocacy Andrew Breetzke has revealed the players have laid an official complaint.
“I can confirm that the majority of the contracted Cobras players have lodged a formal grievance with the Cobras. The grievance relates to a material breakdown in their relationship with the coach,” Breetzke told Club Cricket SA.
“A mediator was appointed and a mediation process took place. The mediator submitted a report to us, but we haven’t studied it yet, and will engage with the players once we have studied it.”
Former South Africa spin bowler Adams assumed his current position in 2012. The Cape Cobras shared the One Day Cup title with the Lions and Titans in 2012/13 and 2013/14 - and won South Africa’s premier first-class competition, the Sunfoil Series, in the same seasons. In 2014/15, they clinched the T20 Challenge crown.
The 2015/16 season brought defeat in the One Day Cup final, a semi-final exit in the T20 Challenge - and a disappointment fourth-place finish in the Sunfoil Series on the back of just three wins in 10 fixtures.
Proteas cricketers Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, JP Duminy and Stiaan van Zyl are among the 18 players contracted by the Cobras. The remaining 11 are first-class captain Omphile Ramela, limited-overs skipper Justin Ontong, wicketkeeper-batsmen Andrew Puttick and Dane Vilas, batsmen Keegan Petersen and Richard Levi - and seamers Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams, Rory Kleinveldt and Tshepo Moreki.
Prince’s arrival as Adams’ assistant was confirmed on Tuesday.
“I would like us, as a team, to play for one another and to work as a strong unit. It is a game of small margins, and when it is tight, the scales will tilt in the direction of the team with a strong cohesion,” said Prince, whose resignation from South Africa’s selection panel was publicised less than 24 hours prior.
Ex-Proteas seamer Alan Dawson, too, has been hired by the Cobras, as convenor of the selection committee.