Tough season ahead for Cape Cobras

Western Cape Cricket and in particular the franchise side, the Cape Cobras, are in a right old mess just two weeks before the start of the domestic season.

A side that until last season had grown accustomed to lifting silverware now finds itself being torn apart with players - senior members at that - expressing their displeasure over the coach’s methods and murmurings about a player exodus emerging out of the Newlands dressing room.

The Cape Cobras are in a right old mess just two weeks before the start of the domestic season. Picture by: Ryan Wilkisky. Credit: BackpagePix

For now Western Cape Cricket is standing by Adams, who in his four years as the Cobras coach has overseen success in all three domestic competitions.

They have backed him further by adding Ashwell Prince as his assistant in the Cobras dressing room - as tough a professional as there’s been in South African cricket - and Alan Dawson as the chairman of selectors.

Those successful Cobras teams were made up of very experienced players; from Andrew Puttick at the top of the order, through Justin Ontong in the middle, along with Justin Kemp and Johann Louw as the leader of the attack.

Only Puttick and Ontong remain of that senior core, with Kemp making the odd appearance, either as a consultant at training or even to play when the occasion warrants it.

The trouble for Western Cape Cricket following their decision to back Adams is of course that it risks isolating the players. Why would they want to perform for a coach they don’t want and, as reports out of Cape Town suggest, don’t respect?

Player power is something that has become an intriguing topic in the era of professional sport.

Last year a very powerful and successful manager in Jose Mourinho found himself on the sidewalk when the Chelsea players seemingly had grown tired of his training methods.

Mourinho, as is his wont, publicly lashed out, but it only worsened his position.

Thus far Adams has said little outside of a press release from Western Cape Cricket in which he said he’d learned lessons during the winter and wanted the chance to apply those in the upcoming season. The fact is, the players don’t appear to want to give him that chance.

On the flip side, the players, as paid professionals, too have a job to do. Sure they may not respect Adams, but they are also duty-bound to perform at their best for the association that pays their salaries.

By under-performing - if they choose to do that - they risk putting themselves in a position where no one else would want to sign them either, should they eventually decide they can no longer work with Adams.

It is a tricky situation for both sides and one the franchise nor Adams wants on the eve of a new season where the Cobras are looking to challenge the seeming power-shift in the domestic game, which has seen the Lions and Titans pack their respective trophy cabinets in recent seasons.

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