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‘Gogga’ still breaking the mould

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iol spt july5 Gogga

INLSA

Cobras coach Paul Adams.

There has never been anything conventional about Paul Adams. From his bowling action to being the youngest Test cricketer South Africa has produced and now being the youngest Cape Cobras coach at 35.

We caught up with “Gogga” to discuss whether he will be tempted to ever play himself, his mate Herschelle Gibbs’s Cobras future and what’s up with that strange “beard”?

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe gave your brother-in-law Wendell Parsons $200 000 when he won Big Brother Amplified. Did he at least take you out for a drink?

I don’t think I’ve seen him since ... wait ... hold on ... aah ... we definitely had some when he was here the last time. Yes, it was after the show. We definitely shared a couple of drinks, and a few stories about what happens “behind the scenes” in the Big Brother house. It was a good night, perhaps that’s why I couldn’t remember it (laughs).

How much of a fright did you get when a brick was lodged into your windscreen last week?

My nerves were shattered, hey! Absolutely! My brother was actually the one driving, so I just ducked. One of the scarier experiences of my life.

When you began your playing career, it was all loud music and fast cars. Has Paul Adams slowed down over the intervening years?

Very much. I have definitely slowed down. It’s a bit difficult to fit all those sub-woofers into my boot now between the pram, the stroller and the bicycles. When we made the decision to start a family, it really changed my life, and I have matured a great deal since.

The Proteas’ current Test spinner Imran Tahir is just 18 months younger than you. Does it still hurt that your Test career came to such an abrupt and early end?

I made peace with that a long time ago. When I retired, I made the conscious decision to give coaching my best shot, and I threw all my energies into trying to make a success of the next phase of my cricket career.

So if Robin Peterson or Dane Piedt are injured or suffer a sudden loss of form, you won’t be tempted to play yourself for the Cobras?

(Laughs) I still have the odd bowl in the nets, to keep the arm well-greased, but I don’t think that need will ever arise. I would have sufficient confidence in the next guy in line, whether it is from the amateur teams or a club side to do the job required.

Is there any particular coach that you have admired, and said “I want to coach like him”?

I have been fortunate that I have played international cricket, and at a high level for a number of years, where I was exposed to some very top coaches. I don’t think one particular individual, but more a range of coaches that I learnt from over the years, and taken a small tip from each one.

Did you have any personal self-doubt about applying for the Cobras job, and if so, who did you consult beforehand?

I won’t say self-doubt, more like a nervous apprehension. I have a group of people, without mentioning any names besides my close family, that I consult whenever I make big decisions. My wife Adrianna and I discussed it for a while, and we both live by the motto of “no regrets”, so I didn’t want to think later about “what if” I don’t apply. With that in mind, the decision was made that I would give it a full go.

Do you and Salieg Nackerdien share a good relationship and will you be able to manage him, considering he was a leading contender for your post?

I’ve worked with Salieg since I’ve started coaching, and even when I was still playing, he was already the Cobras assistant coach. So he knows me very well, as a coach and a person, and I know him too. He would obviously have been disappointed at not having been awarded the top post, but such is the quality of the man that he will be right alongside me in the trenches. We have common goals for Western Cape cricket.

Did you think your rise to becoming a franchise coach would be this rapid?

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in charge of a franchise team at 35. But I’ve now been given the opportunity, and I am sure as hell going to give it 100%.

How will Mark Boucher fit into your team dynamic now that Dane Vilas has been appointed Cobras vice-captain?

I’ve had a chat with Mark and he really is still excited about playing after his international career draws to a close. He will have a mentoring role here at the Cobras, and he really wants to help a guy like Dane fulfil his immense potential.

Who was the first person to call you “Gogga”?

Brian McMillan. He first saw me at the nets, and said “you look like a Gogga” because of my action. And then ahead of my first WP game against Northerns at Centurion, while we were warming up, commentator Kotie Grove was walking around, and asked “who is that?” Eric Simons and Mac were there, and immediately answered “Gogga”.

Spinners are obviously your forté. Of the current crop of young spinners emerging in South Africa, who has the brightest future?

(Warriors off-spinner) Simon Harmer. He is really promising. He took over 50 wickets last season, and as an off-spinner, that’s even more impressive. He’s got really big hands, and big fingers, and gives the ball a real rip!

Will you impose a curfew on all your players while on tour, considering you had your fair share of good moments during your playing career?

I definitely did enjoy a few good nights, but this forms part of my entire coaching philosophy. I want to create an environment where players feel they are being treated like adults, and thereby conduct themselves like adults. There is place for a good night out, but I want each player to start taking personal responsibility. I am no school teacher.

Is there still space for Herschelle Herman Gibbs at the Cobras?

That’s a tough question. Herschelle hasn’t been back to Cape Town for a while, and I am waiting to sit down with him to find out exactly where he is in his career at the moment and what does he still have left to offer the Cobras.

Which of winning trophies for the Cobras or producing players for South Africa is more important to you?

I think these two factors work hand-in-hand. When a team is successful, and is winning trophies, players automatically thrive in that environment and put in performances that attract the attention of the national selectors.

Are there areas within your squad that you are particularly concerned about?

We have a very balanced squad here at the Cobras, but the fast-bowling resources do worry me a bit. There was some talk of possibly signing West Indian Tino Best, but I’ve put my faith in our local bowlers, and we’ve had senior guys like Charl Langeveldt and Johann Louw really putting some young bowlers with potential through their paces this winter.

What’s with the thinly trimmed beard Paul, does your wife like it?

(Laughs) I wouldn’t really call it a beard, but yeah, Adi does like it. I’ve asked her on numerous occasions must I remove it, and I’m constantly greeted with a negative.

Do you tweet, and if so, what is your Twitter handle?

Yes I do, and it really is me! @pauladams39

Which sportsmen would you least likely want to be stuck in a lift with?

WWE wrestler Mark Henry. I don’t think the lift will be big enough for both of us! (laughs)

Which sportswoman would you most likely want to be stuck in a lift with?

Chris Evert.

Tell us something about Paul Adams we don’t know ...

I know how to make a mean potjie. The pot is always empty when I’ve made one. I’m not sure if that’s because of the taste of the food or the fact that everybody is starving because I take so long (laughs again).

Best ball you have ever seen?

It has to be Shane Warne’s “Ball from Hell” to Mike Gatting in the Ashes.

Will the Stormers’ win the Super Rugby title?

They have been criticised for the style of rugby they are playing, but it sure is effective because they just can’t stop winning. Ons almal Storm saam!

What colour is your pyjamas?

(Laughs) I definitely wear pyjamas, brown and green. Those are my favourites. – Cape Times


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