Former South African chinaman bowler Paul Adams turns 40 tomorrow. Born in Cape Town, Adams was known for his highly unorthodox bowling action which former England skipper Mike Gatting said was like “a frog in a blender” and it also earned him the nickname “Gogga”. Currently coaching the Cape Cobras team, Adams entered the international arena in 1995 at the age of 18 and made his Test debut against England at Port Elizabeth on 26th December and ended the match with figures of 4/126 in 65 overs.
Adams made his ODI debut a couple of days later and in only his second match, he recorded figures of 3/26 which helped South Africa defend a paltry total of 129 against England and fetched Adams the Man of the Match award. He was subsequently selected in the squad to play in the 1996 World Cup and was the youngest member of the team.
He played two matches in the tournament against Pakistan and against West Indies in the quarter-finals. He took three wickets in the tournament at an average of 29 and at an economy rate of 4.83. Adams was a regular in the Test team during the late 1990s but made sporadic appearances for the ODI Team. However, Adams’ place in the South African team came under scrutiny due to injuries and the emergence of Nicky Boje as an all-rounder and he was soon out of the national team in 2004, when he was only 27.
He was recalled to the national team in 2006 for the Test series against India but was dropped from the squad before the first Test and was never seen anywhere near the national team again. He retired from professional cricket two years later in 2008.
Adams played 45 Tests and picked up 134 runs at an average of 32.87 and in 24 ODIs, Adams picked up 29 wickets. He ended his first-class career with 412 wickets at an average of 32.66 with 9/79 being her best bowling figures in first-class cricket.
Let’s take a look at Paul Adams’ top five bowling spells of his career.
#5 5/37 vs Bangladesh at Chittagong, 2003
After the final of the TVS Cup against India was abandoned, South Africa would now take on Bangladesh in Bangladesh for a three-match Test series. The first Test of this series was held at Chittagong and would be the first Test for Graeme Smith as the captain of the Test team.
After electing to bat first, Bangladesh were looking to be in control with Javed Omar and skipper Habibul Bashar adding 83 runs for the second wicket before the former was trapped LBW by Alan Dawson. Bangladesh could not take it from hereon as the South African bowling began to trouble their batsmen time and again and they eventually wrapped up their innings at 173.
The key architect of Bangladesh’s downfall after being 97/2 at one point of time was Paul Adams as he took the key wickets of Mohammad Ashraful, Akram Khan, and Alok Kapali before taking a couple of late wickets to end the first innings with figures of 5/37. The South African batting would respond brilliantly with debutant Jacques Rudolph making an unbeaten 222 and Boeta Dippennaar making an unbeaten 177 to take South Africa to 470/2.
Adams went on to take another five-wicket haul in the second innings to steer South Africa to victory by an innings and 60 runs.