Paul Adams, drawing on his previous experience against England, believes the Proteas will need to find their fighting spirit to beat the hosts.
In what has been a turbulent past season for former Cobras coach Paul Adams, the dust has finally settled on the player revolt against him that forced him to leave his post at the turn of the year.
He’s found solace as coach of the Western Province Academy and U19 sides, so it was fitting that he was present at the KFC Mini Cricket National Seminar at the Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg, to reflect on another successful year for the fastest growing grassroots development programme in the country.
It was a chance for SACricketmag.com to pick Adams’ brain on the Proteas’ upcoming Test series against England. He knows what it’s like to beat the English on their own turf and indeed at Lord’s, with the first Test starting at the Home of Cricket on Thursday.
With 13 Tests and 32 wickets to his name against the English, Adams believes the side need to draw inspiration from the past, which has seen them unbeaten in England for 19 years.
‘The Proteas have had a tough tour so far in the UK, so they need to move on quickly and understand what they need to achieve,’ Adams says.
‘The Test at Lord’s is key because South Africa haven’t lost there for many years and they need to draw inspiration from that. When South Africa have a tough time we’ve been known to fight back so it’s important that we rally hard and stay mentally tough,’ he continues.
Adams believes England are going to target the openers. Heino Kuhn will be making his Test bow, while Dean Elgar will be making his debut as captain, so it’s going to be an area the new-ball bowlers will exploit.
‘It’s very important how they [Kuhn and Elgar] start,’ Adams says. ‘When you play in England the new ball is very important. They need to see it off at first and build partnerships from there.
‘England will be rearing to go with the experience of Broad and Anderson up front and they will want to play a lot of mind games in the next couple of days; you’ll see that happening in the media.’
Adams toured England in 1998 and 2003 as the predominant spinner in the side, and Keshav Maharaj will have a similar task ahead of him as he was named as the only spinner in the squad. The 40-year-old believes Maharaj is going to play a huge role, especially considering how spin has played its part recently in the County Championship. Maharaj’s counterpart, Simon Harmer, took 28 wickets in the space of just 11 days for Essex over the past fortnight.
‘It’s been a hot and dry summer in England so far, and if you look at the results recently spin is going to play an important role,’ Adams continues. ‘Maharaj has had a great start to his career so far and he works really hard at his game.’
On his own future, Adams is happy to have moved on from his time at the Cobras as he looks to build some solid foundations for Western Province cricket.
‘At different stages of your coaching career you go through ups and downs but if you can continue to inspire people, and make sure they can be the best they can, then you’ll be okay,’ he says.
‘I always look at the challenges and work around that, and now I’m just determined to produce cricketers for South Africa,’ he concludes.
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images