Adams' deadly Cobras
PAUL Adams's appointment in June as the Cape Cobras' head coach was met with incredulity - what was the franchise thinking?
Adams was a television commentator who served as the team's bowling consultant.
Salieg Nackerdien, the Western Province amateur team coach, and Barney Mohamed, who holds the reins at Boland, seemed more suitable candidates.
A magnificent seven months on, Adams has delivered the best response to the doubts about his abilities by guiding the Cobras to the franchise first-class championship.
They clinched the title at the weekend with victory over the Knights in Bloemfontein, their sixth win in 10 matches.
In December, the Cobras shared the one-day trophy with the Lions after the final at the Wanderers was washed out twice.
On Sunday, Adams will begin his quest for another trophy when the Cobras play the Lions in Potchefstroom in their first match of the T20 tournament.
Asked if he felt vindicated by Adams's success, Western Cape Cricket chief executive Andre Odendaal said yesterday: "He's done better than even we who trusted him thought he would do."
What has gone so right for the former Proteas left-arm wrist spinner whose bizarre bowling action did not mark him out for a coaching career?
For a start, the Cobras were willing to screw their courage to its sticking place in appointing him.
"We knew we were taking a risk," Odendaal said. "We chose, deliberately, a coach in his mid-30s - a new-generation leader. If you look at society around us, management people are younger.
"But the vision and values of the franchise were crucial in determining Paul's selection."
Which is not to say the Cobras' success is all about Adams. Having won only one trophy in the first four seasons of franchise cricket, they went on to claim seven in the next five campaigns - five of them in the last three summers.
"There's been a structured building of the brand and the franchise," Odendaal said.
"Paul has taken us to the level where we've always wanted to be - where vision and values and performance and structure come together."
Adams himself chose to pay tribute to his players: "The guys stepped up and played superb cricket, especially towards the end of the competition where there were nerves and jitters."
But there was no escaping the praise of the Cobras captain, Justin Ontong: "I'm very proud of Paul Adams. In his first season as coach it seems an easy game for him - two trophies already."