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Paul Adams flies out to join South African team in India

15 November 1996

Three months after his last first class game for South Africa A on its tour of England in August, Protean mystery spinner Paul Adams returned to the bowling crease on Thursday for Western Province against Boland in the Supersport Series.

The layoff - caused by shin and groin injuries - appeared to have no effect on the bowler who posesses the most peculiar bowling action in contemporary cricket. Adams took his first wicket off the seventh ball of his first spell, followed it up with another victim 10 balls later, and ended the game with figures of four for 68 from 23 overs.

And within hours, convenor of the South African selection committee Peter Pollock announced that Adams would fly out to India to augment the national side now readying to take on India in a three-Test series beginning November 20.

Adams, thus, will fly out on Monday November 18.

Interesting, this. At the conclusion of the Titan Cup triangular which South Africa lost to India at the Wankhede Stadium, Hansie Cronje was asked about his gameplan for the Tests ahead.

Star all-rounders Shaun Pollock and Craig Mathews, as also mystery spinner Paul Adams, he was reminded, were recovering from the injuries that had ruled them out of the South African squad for the one day tournament. Would he be asking the selectors to fly them out for the Tests?

``I don't think we need any more players from home,'' Cronje said. ``The squad we have here have all been playing very well, we are confident of doing well in the Tests.''

But given that the wickets for the Tests were likely to take turn, wouldn't Adams be an asset, Cronje was specifically asked.

``I don't imagine so. Pat Symcox and Nicky Boje have settled down to good form, they are bowling well together and I don't see any need for another spinner in the party.''

Pollock and the other members of the South African selection committee apparently did, however. And so Adams will make the trip after all.

Back home in South Africa, they call the diminutive Adams 'Goggo' - the Afrikaans name for a small, gnat-like insect that whirs around with arms and legs flying around all over the place.

11 months ago, Adams had become the youngest player in Test history when he made his debut at the age of 18 years 340 days, against England.

In his brief stint thus far in the international limelight, Adams has drawn smiles for a bowling action that, at the point of delivery, has him facing mid off. But not too many batsmen who have had the opportunity of facing him have retained their smiles for long - Adams on a spin-friendly wicket is a handful for all comers, his peculiar action making the task of reading him all the more difficult.

''He probably won't play in the first Test, but that decision will be left to the tour management,'' Pollock said in South Africa on Friday.

Adams became the youngest player in South Africa's test history when he made his debut aged 18 years and 340 days against England 11 months ago.

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:05