Great Tennis vs Queen’s CollegeFeb 12, 2024
Grade 11 Design students visit NoomFeb 12, 2024
This tournament attracts all the top SA & most of the top international talent fairly evenly distributed between the 8 franchised teams and then it’s what can you do with these players, it’s about the chef d’equipe , the head coach. I watched the videos of the culture Adi had created in the changing room, they may have been small things but essential to creating this indomitable winning culture:-
– Know the names of the full support team & address the cook & the bag carriers by their names. Be kind & respectful.
– Respect the opposition. Go for the throat to close out a game but always treat the opposition with respect; no sledging or gloating or petulance.
– Back your skipper. Adi making Markram man of the match for making an astute bowling change to drive home a win was brilliant man management & coaching. He helped turn Markram into Superman. We all remember that virtually impossible catch Superman Markram then took in the next match.
Adi, you are a special man which is why you are a very special coach. What you have done in 6 weeks with this disparate group of talent is simply unbelievable.
Your father Harry was a brilliant coach and inspirer of young men on the cricket and rugby fields but you’ve consistently taken the Birrell Magic to another level….
– First inspiring black talent in the townships in the 80s as EPs Cricket development officer when you were the only white man in the townships not carrying an assault rifle & wearing military fatigues. Your uniform was cricket whites & your weapon was the Birrell smile
– Next up coaching EP as a very young coach and somehow or other establishing a team spirit & demonstrating resilience and maturity beyond your years with the somewhat difficult Kepler Wessels as the much older set-in-his-ways captain.
– Then who can forget turning the amateur Irish side ( quite literally the butcher, the baker
& the candle stick maker !) into match winners, & not only qualifying Ireland for a World Cup for the first time but then beating Pakistan in the tournament on St Patrick’s Day & getting to the knockouts.
– For the Proteas, you personally never sought the limelight and were happy to take the number 2 coaching spot and assist your prodigy Russell Damingo to great effect. We loved hosting you at the Harry Birrell Scholarship Trust start of the Silver Jubilee campaign in the long room at Lords in your Proteas blazer before then upgrading you, along with Keatsy & Peterkin to Birrell Blue’s jackets! Who can forget the spontaneous standing ovation we all then gave MJK Smith, the last man to play test level at both cricket & rugby & Harry’s old Oxford rugger & cricket teammate.
– You’ve revived Hampshire to win the county T20 & be runners-up in the County Championship.
But what you’ve done with your home Provence ( the mighty Eastern Cape) franchise side 2 years on the trot is simply unbelievable & we are all enormously proud of you. What is doubly brilliant is through your coaching methods you are also teaching us as supporters how to be better human beings….:-
– Drop your pride and ego at the changing room door.
– Be polite and attentive. Get to know the names of the support staff and take time to chat with them, you’re never too busy.
– Play for each other, it’s much better than playing for yourself.
– Enjoy it, have some fun, and make a teammate Eddie the Eagle of the Day.
– Stay humble, humility fuels good humans & winners.
– Savour a victory, don’t just rush on, go back to your farm for a week or two & enjoy your cattle .
Harry & Sylvia are so proud of you looking down from their clouds and seeing what you’ve achieved Adi, just as we all are.