Two new coaches with winning ways

2012-12-16 10:00

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Paul Adams was described as having a “frog-in-a-blender” action and went on to take 134 Test wickets in 45 outings, a feat no other post-isolation spinner has achieved.

Geoffrey Toyana was a nuggety southpaw who thrived under pressure.

He knows what it takes to beat the Cobras, having done it with the Easterns in the SuperSport Series final in 2002 before the franchise era, where his 41 and 29 proved crucial.

He did it again in the 2004/05 SuperSport Series when his 65 knocked the stuffing out of the Cobras, who cascaded to an innings defeat.

It is this type of winning mentality and sense of responsibility Toyana hopes he has imbued in his team.

“I’ve told the players they cannot be idolising players they watch on TV and do not share a personal space with. In the change room, we are all on the same level,” Toyana said.

“I tell them to believe in themselves, know they belong at this level and have that swagger that makes them feel like they belong here. When I played, I was often in awe when players like Daryll Cullinan came back into the team after an international stint.”

Adams took over a successful, but fractured, Cobras team after Richard Pybus’ departure. Pybus was accused of favouritism, which showed in performances. Even though they were domestic limited-overs champions, they faltered in the Sunfoil Series and MiWay T20 competition.

“We’ve got a three-tier system where we have international, franchise and new players breaking into the franchise team, and it is important to get that balance right to create sustainability,” Adams said.

“Those standards need to be maintained, but an environment has been set for players to express themselves and for youngsters to grow into.”

Both coaches have benefited from standout performances by black and coloured players.

Toyana said all his black players have performed to the point where they could not be denied an opportunity. Seniors such as Pumelela Matshikwe and Thami Tsolekile played a mentoring role.

“The development in this region has been very good and the players who have got into the team have done so on merit, but you can’t underestimate the value of senior players because we have young players here,” he said.

“We have always produced black talent, but the key thing for them has been to take their opportunities.”

Adams has a massive coloured player base in the Western Cape.

Farhaan Behardien and Henry Davids excelled elsewhere after starting their careers in the Cape, but the likes of Lizaad Williams and Yaseen Vallie are an indicator for Adams of new talent still coming through.

“Vallie has been around the Cobras team for around two years now and I’m happy at how he has come along in 50-over cricket and he knows where he fits in the team. All you want a young player to do is to worry about their game,” he said.

“We’ll always pride ourselves on the number of coloured cricketers we produce and we have been a real feeder to South African cricket. Most of the coloured players you see around the country are from the Cape.”

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