Flint, in heaping praise on Adams, said the “dynamic assistant groundsman’s commitment and unwavering dedication are his greatest traits, and he played a major role as part of my team in my awards as top groundsman in South Africa for the past two seasons.”
CEO of WPCA Nabeal Dien reiterated Flint’s views, “We always like to, wherever possible, promote from within in order to provide opportunities for growth within the organisation and Ithtishaam has learnt his trade over the years from the very best in Evan Flint and has the confidence and knowledge to forge his own successful career as the head groundsman of our wonderful ground. We wish him the very best.”
Adams qualified post matric as a civil and electrical engineer, but sport is in his blood. He is steeped in cricket and that passion and a history of love for the soil attracted him to the work on the ground-staff.
“Since childhood, I always had a green thumb and I was my father’s right hand man in the garden,” he reminisces.
When he started playing for Blue Bells Cricket Club, he also gradually took over the role as their groundsman while playing alongside his father, who also represented Western Province during the era of apartheid.
His first stint at Newlands was for a month during the ICC Champions trophy in October 2012. In December 2012, Flint asked him if he was interested in coming to work for the ground staff on a contract basis.
He worked for the 2012/2013 season and so impressive was he that Flint asked him to become assistant groundsman at PPC Newlands from the start of the 2014 season.
“An assistant’s role is to provide a platform through cultural practices and operations in horticulture to manipulate conditions so that you can prepare a turf for sports games. I didn’t stand with my hands behind my back. I forced Evan to put pressure on me. I earned Evan’s trust. We would stand on the pitch for a test at PPC Newlands and troubleshoot for two hours on how we are going to prepare it,” he said.
He learned his trade by being unafraid to operate every machine and allowed himself to make mistakes.
Asked what his philosophy is about pitch preparation, he said, “the match should offer a good contest between bat and ball. You don’t look for lopsided victories. On day one, the ideal is that the team batting should score 280 to 350 with seven wickets down. After day two, the opposition should be leading by 50 with six wickets in the bank. The ideal is that the match should last four days, not two days.”
A feature of PPC Newlands is its pristine outfield and the backdrop of Table Mountain.
Currently, PPC Newlands has 14 pitches on the square. They use ten for official games, of which five are TV pitches for international games, World Sports Betting Cape Cobras matches and the Mzansi Super League.
“The older pitches are not tired. There is still life in them, whilst the younger pitches need a couple of years to mature still,” Adams concluded.