Paul Adams will step down as Cape Cobras coach from January 1 to be redeployed as Western Cape Cricket high performance manager and coach. This follows a prolonged period of player unhappiness with Adams, who has been in charge for five seasons and won five trophies but faced several mutinies this season.
Cobras have named former international batsman Ashwell Prince as interim coach for the rest of the season, while Faiek Davids will assist him. The franchise also named South African offspinner Dane Piedt as interim captain for the rest of the season.
Adams' troubles with the players began at the end of last season when several senior Cobras players complained to the management about what they believed was a lack of tactical acumen on Adams' part. Adams had the backing of the Western Cape Cricket (WCC) Board, though, and the concerns were ignored. Instead, Adams underwent management courses over the winter but returned to work to find the players still unhappy. They filed a formal grievance on May 10, after learning that Adams had been offered a contract extension.
The WCC then agreed to an internal mediation under Paddy Upton but rejected his report for what they termed "material deficiencies," as he had failed to interview all the contracted players. The South African Cricketers' Association then became involved in assisting the players in dealing with the issue.
The SACA confirmed that 10 out of the 17 contracted players wanted Adams removed and helped them take the matter to the country's dispute resolution body, the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), where the players applied for the right to strike should Adams not be removed. The CCMA granted them that right but they did not act on it. It appears as though their demands have now been met and neither party showed ill-feeling.
"Helping the team to succeed in ways which led to a number of trophies and getting players going up to the Proteas was a very satisfying part of my five-season journey as Cobras' coach," Adams said. "I am looking forward very much to my new role."
Nabeal Dien, WCC's chief executive, said Adams will still play a central role in the development of the franchise's teams. "Paul's new role is pivotal, as he will be the caretaker and manager of the pipeline structures, nurturing the next generation of franchise players," he said. "We have opted to make these significant changes in order to address the current slide in the form of the [team].
"We trust that the appointment of Dane will ignite the Cobras. He is a selfless cricketer with an excellent game awareness and a natural motivator, and we believe he will be inspirational.
"We believe that Ashwell possesses the international pedigree, the management skills and the interpersonal prowess to rejuvenate the Cobras. We firmly trust he can restore their pride and lift them to the summit."
The new year will begin with Cobras searching for consistency after starting the season with three defeats in the first-class competition to lie at the bottom of the table halfway through the tournament. They fared slightly better in the T20 format and were in contention for a playoff place but failed to qualify.