CAPE TOWN – November 26, 2008. A date that is etched into every Indian’s memory. It has nothing to do with a brilliant Sachin Tendulkar century, a famous World Cup win, or in fact anything related to cricket.
It was the day Mumbai - the heart of India - suffered a wave of terror attacks that shook the populous nation to its core.
It was also the day Russell Adams arrived in India to begin a journey that would shape his life forever. Lesser individuals would have turned straight around at the Airport and re-boarded the plane back home to South Africa.
Instead the former Cape Cobras Operations Manager rolled up his sleeves for the next nine years as a consultant to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) before serving as the Vice-President of Commercial, Operations and Cricket Academy for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
It is this attitude, work ethic and passion that Cricket South Africa sought by luring Adams back to his birth-country as the Tournament Director for the new T20 Global League, set to be launched this summer.
CSA are undoubtedly banking on Adams’ international experience to get the much-hyped tournament off the ground and running by the time it starts on November 4. The all-important player draft is this weekend in the former Capetonian’s home town.
“I know we will be ready. CSA have not just jumped into staging a tournament. They have waited for a few years, monitored other T20 tournaments and taken on-board what has worked and what hasn’t.
“The people in South Africa also have great experience in staging major events like the World Cup 2003, the IPL and Champions Leagues before. The infrastructure is also far superior to India which is major benefit. The facilities here are world class. The immediate challenge is, of course, that we only have two months to go.
But can the T20 Global League really compare with the IPL even though it has great stadiums, marquee international players and South Africa’s superstars?
“Obviously the mass Indian market that the IPL operates within is vastly different,” Adams said. “But everything from the event management side will be of equal standard. Every aspect that affects the league will be on par.
“This is also a global tournament that is aiming to attract a global audience. There are strategic plans aimed at capturing this audience through digital and social media activations. My years in India have really prepared me to put back into South African cricket.”
The GL T20 has already encountered some major obstacles before a ball has been bowled in anger. Brimstone Investment Corporation withdrew from the tournament, leaving the Western Cape franchise without an owner.
Brimstone’s unexpected exit also left Osman Osman’s Pretoria-based Blu Blood as the only South African franchise owners. CSA have since taken over the managing of the “Stellenbosch Monarchs” to ensure eight teams will participate.
It is for challenges just like these that CSA have called on “Mr Fix-It”.