Qaasim Adams: 'I was told I had an attitude problem'

Qaasim Adams (Gallo)
Qaasim Adams (Gallo)
  • Qaasim Adams alleges he was ill-treated and eventually forced to leave the Titans as soon as Mark Boucher became head coach.
  • The retired left-handed batsman said his career died in when he was ostracised and dropped from the team for "having a bad attitude".
  • This comes in a stormy week where current and ex-Proteas have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Retired batsman Qaasim Adams has revealed his experiences that led to his exit from the Titans in 2017 at the peak of his powers.

Adams says he was frustrated out of the Centurion-based franchise as soon as current Proteas head coach Mark Boucher succeeded Rob Walter in the Titans coaching role.

On Tuesday, 30 Proteas players, plus professionals and coaches, said they were ready to air their stories of victimisation and racism in cricket during their time. The list includes Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Charl Langeveldt and Herschelle Gibbs.

They also expressed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and stood in support of Protea player Lungi Ngidi, who recently came under attack for his views on the movement.

Though not part of the 36-name list, Adams felt compelled to share his story. Cricket South Africa was offered right of reply to his comments, but had not done so by the time of publication.

The left-handed batsman was one of the star domestic players who teetered on the brink of Proteas selection after a stellar 2015/16 season that culminated in his SA 'A' selection for the tour of Zimbabwe and Australia.

However, he says he was greeted with a mood change within the team he joined from the Cape Cobras in 2013 as soon as he came back from the SA 'A' tour. During that 2016/2017 cold spell, he was starved of game time and told he lacked intensity, despite performing well, he says, which led to the death of his career and Proteas chances.

"At the stage where my career could take off, it was cut short," he told Sport24.

"I came back from an SA 'A' trip, where I did well, and I felt I was given all different manner of excuses for not being allowed to play and to express myself, in the way I did in the two years leading up to that.

"We had a coach who said to me, these individuals will bat at one, two and three because they run better between the wickets. I’m a cricketer; I’m not oblivious to what’s going on. I was the Titans finisher for a good part of two years, but I got told that I didn’t have the power to clear the boundary.

"All these things started to creep up. I was told I am not training with intensity and my intensity is not right.

"I got suddenly called to the CEO’s (Jacques Faul’s) office. In the first meeting with the CEO and the new coach, I was told I had an attitude problem. The only reason why they said I had an attitude problem was that I said what I needed to say in the change room."

Former Titans paceman Ethy Mbhalati, who is part of the aforementioned group who supported Ngidi, told TimesLIVE that the culture within the franchise’s dressing room prohibited black players from being vocal.

"When black players questioned certain things‚ they said we had [an] attitude problem and we were lazy‚ but when a white player did the same thing‚ they said they were good leaders," he said.

'There was no more fight in me'

In 2016, Adams scored the fastest List A 50 during a One Day Cup game against the Lions, which came from 20 deliveries. That same year, he scored his seventh of the 13 First Class centuries he accumulated in his career and hit consecutive half centuries in both innings' of the Sunfoil Series match against the Lions.

Though not getting game time at the Titans franchise the following season, Adams was lighting it up in 3-Day cricket in 2017 for the Northerns, scoring his career best 202 not out against North West.

Before he packed his bags to head back to Cape Town, he was averaging 41.60 in First Class cricket despite the paucity of game time in Centurion.

"Matthew Maynard signed me, but when I started with Rob Walter, in the meetings we had, he said to me he didn’t sign me, but he would look at what I’ve got to offer," Adams says.

"I didn’t mind that because he was being honest with me. Right there, I made my mind up that I’m gonna show him that I can play. In pre-season, I became so fit and strong and I was driven. That was my attitude for the next four years.

"I thought I had become, not so much a senior player, but one of those guys in the team who warranted an extended run in the team, even when you don’t do well. You get those guys that get dropped immediately if they don’t perform in two or three games and you get those that don’t - that’s how it works.

"I was doing well and I even got my SA 'A' call-up before all of that happened. There was no more fight in me when it happened (getting dropped in 2016). I was 32 at that time and I knew it was gonna be difficult to break into the Proteas - because of the likes of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller were still there - but I would have liked to have another go at it while I was at the Titans."

'I say the truth too bluntly'

Adams, who was involved in a gun-wielding incident at the Cobras last year, did not completely absolve himself of the mistakes he made.

He professed to being a forthright person, maybe sometimes too blunt, but insisted he wasn’t a disruption to the changing room or had disciplinary problems, as some had claimed.

"I’ve always had a problem of how to say things but not what to say," he says.

"Maybe I say the truth too bluntly and maybe it’s how I put it over to people. I know it’s an issue of mine and I’ve been working on it for years.

"And yes, I did write a few things on Facebook about me not playing for eight months, saying that I’m available to play. Maybe that was not the right thing to do on my part, but it was starting to get frustrating.

"My life had basically changed from there on in. My career basically died. I had to apologise to the team and to the squad for what I supposedly did. I did it just because I wanted to play but I didn’t end up playing."

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