Cricket writer Zaahier Adams has written an open letter to scrutinised Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams.
I think the time has come that I play open cards with the public. The public deserve to know the relationship we share.
The one that stretches back long before St Augustine’s CC and your mentor Beresford Williams (now Western Province Cricket Association president) claimed you as one of his own. I’m referring to the days at Blue Bells CC when your late dad crammed all 11 boys of your junior team into one car to ensure that you got to play the game you loved every Saturday.
I’m referring to the days when you still bowled fast, long before you turned to spin with an action that was later likened to a ‘frog in a blender’.
We grew up just a block apart in an area, Grassy Park, a journalist once referred to as a ‘salt-of-the-earth kind of suburb, where fathers wear blue overalls to work and kids sleep two or three to a bedroom and mothers do the washing by hand’. I remember that comment incensing us both equally.
But none of these memories can compare with the day when you were awarded your Test cap at St George’s Park. Besides your parents William and Anne, brothers Noel and Garry, and sister Beverley, I can assure you there was not a single individual that beamed with pride greater than me that day, for it was just 12 months earlier that we were playing together in a club side on a pitch that had just been set alight with paraffin! And yet there you were playing Test cricket against the likes of Michael Atherton.
So, when firstly your Test career, and later your entire playing career, fizzled out after the dizzying heights it initially scaled, it broke my heart. I couldn’t express it in the manner I wanted to because I too had grown up by then. I was now a reporter who had to remain neutral even though I had this burning desire within me to lambast the coaches and executive boards that I believed to have failed you.
Everything had arrived so quickly, and in a flash at just 31 years old, it was all taken away from you.
It was for this very reason that when you started your next journey, I was so cautious. The commentary gig with SuperSport was always going to be temporary. You love this game with your entire being. And we knew that you were always going to give back, and that’s why coaching was the logical step.
I only hoped that you would keep those training wheels on just a little longer this time. But just like with your playing career there were bigger forces at play.
So from being the youngest kid to play Test cricket for South Africa, you were now the youngest franchise coach in the country. My worst fears had been realised.
Publicly I wrote that such a huge responsibility might be a bit premature. Privately, I warned the powers-that-be that they were throwing you to the wolves. But such is your character and determination to prove people wrong that you went out and achieved immediate success. It is just your way.
I always feared, though, that your coaching career bore too much resemblance to your playing days, early adulation to be followed by some tough times. And that is exactly how it’s transpired.
I know the current uprising from your own players cannot be a pleasant thing to deal with. To have comrades you once went into battle with – men you would have regarded as friends – turn against you in this manner is the most bitter of pills to swallow.
Unfortunately, though, this is the reality. Not even your wonderful charm is going to convince them otherwise, Gogi. They all still want to invite you over for a braai because you are a lekker bra’, but they want a different coach. That much is clear.
And we all know that if a coach loses the dressing-room, he is doomed.
I still believe you can forge a successful coaching career. Your good mate Vinny Barnes survived a similar player rebellion back in 1999, and look where he is now, right at the top of the pile, as Cricket South Africa’s High Performance Manager.
Sometimes taking one step back is the road to two steps forward.
This article was first published by Independent Media.