The Cape Cobras players, angered by administrators’ inaction, are on the brink of calling an all-out strike in their dispute against coach Paul Adams.
Tony Irish, CEO of the SA Cricketers’ Association, said the players ‘have been asking the franchise to properly address this issue for many months, but to no avail, and have exhausted every constructive process available to them with the franchise’. He added that the players will appeal for help from Cricket South Africa to help resolve the issue.
The senior players, who are at odds with their coach over tactical and man-management issues, are frustrated that the Cape Cobras board refuse to implement a recommendation by the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to appoint an independent assessor to look into Adams’ suitability for the job.
While the CCMA cannot make a binding ruling, it can issue confirmation of unresolved matters which then allows for lawful and protected industrial action.
‘Any kind of industrial action is always a very last resort for players and we hope it doesn’t come to that,’ said Irish. ‘We will now seek Cricket South Africa’s assistance and intervention before considering what further steps to take.’
At the end of last season, senior players declared a dispute with their coach, but the administration’s response was to send Adams on a leadership course and then appoint former Test player Ashwell Prince as his assistant. They also brought in Alan Dawson as convenor of selectors, but he resigned this week, saying he felt he could not make a contribution. ‘I feel like a plaster on a boil,’ he said. ‘But the boil needs to be attended from within.’
To add to the difficulties, Prince will be absent for the forthcoming T20 series while doing TV commentary work in Australia. Western Province coach Faiek Davids will provide cover.
Irish added: ‘We had proposed a process for an independent cricket person to monitor and assess the coach’s situation on the ground within the team over a three-week period and thereafter to make a recommendation as to what should happen with the coaching situation. His recommendation would be accepted by all, and binding on the players.
‘The franchise has however rejected the proposal out of hand without proposing any alternative. The most frustrating aspect is that it appears that the board of the franchise simply refuses to acknowledge that there is actually a problem at all, despite everything that has happened, and is now happening, around it.’
The Cobras have lost three of their first four first-class matches and are playing their fifth without captain Omphile Ramela, who is suspended following disciplinary action on an unrelated matter.
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