The Western Cape Cricket (WCC) board will meet before Friday to decide whether they implement a suggestion from dispute resolution body, the Council for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), to appoint an independent assessor in 14 days time to look into Paul Adams' role as Cobras' head coach. The CCMA made the recommendation after several Cobras players, through the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA), took their grievance with Adams to the body, following a breakdown in the board's ability to resolve long-standing issues.
Seven franchise players were present at the CCMA on Tuesday to state their case but an insider told ESPNcricinfo he does not believe the board will implement the CCMA's motion because they have already given Adams their backing. The source predicts more battles between the board and players on this matter.
Although none of the players' complaints about Adams have been made public, 10 out of the 17 contracted players have stated on the record that they do not believe he is the right man to take the team forward. They first made their unhappiness known at the end of the last season but Cobras offered Adams a two-year contract extension. The players then raised a formal grievance and the WCC appointed a mediator, Paddy Upton, to try to find a resolution.
Upton compiled a report in which he interviewed some but not all of the players and concluded that Adams should stand down and be redeployed in a different capacity at the franchise. The WCC chose not to implement those measures because they said they found material deficiencies in Upton's report, relating to the number of players he spoke to. The players then sought the help of SACA, who have assisted them in taking the case to the CCMA.
On Tuesday at the CCMA meeting, Tony Irish, SACA CEO, believes some positive steps were taken. "It may well be the first time that players and the board have exchanged such frank views on the issue," he said. "The parties have given themselves a clear two-week period to come up with a mechanism which will hopefully finally resolve this dispute."
If, by November 1, the board and the players have not reached a mutual agreement, the matter can return to the CCMA for further discussion.
The ongoing saga into Adams' future has coincided with the start of the season which has not gone well for Cobras. They have lost their opening two matches by big margins and their second fixture, against Knights was marred by a bad-tempered incident when Cobras' batsman Zubayr Hamza was given our handling the ball. A eye-witness said members of both teams were involved in verbal altercations and there may yet be disciplinary proceedings. Cobras play Warriors in their third first-class match at Newlands, starting on Thursday.