‘I’ve learnt a lot’ — Prince happy with qual­i­fi­ca­tion

Sunday Times - - Sport Cricket/results - By KHANYISO TSHWAKU

● Be­fore Ash­well Prince re­ceived his Cricket SA Level 3 coach­ing cer­tifi­cate last week, not only did he right the Cape Co­bras over the past 23 months, he led them to four con­sec­u­tive Four-Day Fran­chise Se­ries wins.

Along came the prized pa­per, the lack of which caused con­tro­versy when he was ap­pointed and the Co­bras got a 186-run ham­mer­ing against the Highveld Lions in Paarl. A month ear­lier they had routed this same side by an in­nings and 71 runs. De­spite the set­back, the Cape Co­bras stay top of the log.

Prince said the bulk of his coach­ing jour­ney has been about self-dis­cov­ery.

“There was a lot said about me not hav­ing the cer­tifi­cate but a lot of peo­ple were em­ployed with­out that qual­i­fi­ca­tion. But if you feel the cer­tifi­cate is go­ing to make the dif­fer­ence, that’s an­other de­bate,” Prince said.

“I’ve gone there, I’ve got my cer­tifi­cate and I’m happy that I’ve got it. You may have had a sto­ried pro­fes­sional ca­reer but you won’t know ev­ery­thing about the game. It re­mains a learn­ing process be­cause coach­ing, man­ag­ing and play­ing are three dif­fer­ent de­part­ments. There’s a lot that I’ve learnt and my eyes have been opened to things that I wasn’t quite aware of.”

The Cape Co­bras Prince is in charge of is a dif­fer­ent group com­pared to the one squared up with for­mer coach Paul Adams.

Re­la­tions with Adams and the play­ers broke down to a point where play­ers lodged a dis­pute with the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion (CCMA).

When Prince re­placed his long-time pro­vin­cial and na­tional team­mate at the end of 2016, there still was a long road ahead.

Though Prince said he’s had a new team, the two Danes, Piedt and Pater­son, have been at the fore­front of the 2018/19 First­Class re­nais­sance.

The off-spin­ner and the fast bowler from the Adams era have taken 22 and 26 wick­ets to oc­cupy third and first on the bowl­ing sta­tis­tics re­spec­tively.

Tladi Bokako’s con­tri­bu­tions of 21 scalps puts him third.

An­other rem­nant of the Adams era in Pi­eter Malan has guided the young bat­ting line-up with 472 runs at 54.66.

He’s sec­ond be­hind Knights cap­tain Pite van Biljon (572 runs at 63.77) while Jan­ne­man Malan (327 runs at 36.33), David Bed­ing­ham (270 runs at 33.75) and Zubayr Hamza (255 runs at 31.87) have chipped in.

“There aren’t that many of those play­ers left in the dress­ing room. This is more or less a new squad and the board al­lowed me to build my own squad. There are a cou­ple of play­ers left from that era like Dane Piedt and Dane Pater­son and they’ve been key.

“How­ever, it’s a new squad and they weren’t part of what­ever was go­ing on at the time,” Prince said.

Ash­well Prince has helped the Cape Co­bras get off to a quiet but good First­Class start.

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