Book by Gibbs exposes dark side of South African cricket

Last Updated 31 October 2010, 12:16 IST

The weekly 'Sunday Times' carried excerpts from Gibbs' book, a day before its release.
The book graphically details the sexual exploits of the controversial player who has been in trouble for his late night binges and drunken driving charges, as well as leading players in smoking pot in the West Indies.

Gibbs, who just last week confessed that he would have to work very hard to return to the national squad, could also incur the ire of fellow players after writing in his book that the Proteas are dominated by a clique of older players.

"The team has been criticised for being run by a group of senior players - Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, and more recently, A B de Villiers," Gibbs wrote. "This inner circle splits the team in two and makes any chance of developing true team spirit among the Proteas impossible," said Gibbs, adding that former national coach Mickey Arthur had often bowed to them after trying to take them on.

"Simply put, without Graeme's backing, he didn't have much influence over the guys. In the end, Graeme was simply too powerful." Gibbs also disclosed how the squad never regained its spirit after former captain Hansie Cronje, now deceased, got a life ban following his admission to match-fixing that was first uncovered by Indian authorities.

"Things were never the same. I sympathised with Shaun Pollock (who took over from Cronje). He had a tough time filling Hansie's shoes and gluing the team together. But the Proteas never had that same togetherness under Polly (Pollock). He never socialised with boys too much."

Gibbs was one of the co-accused with Cronje and Henry Williams, after allegations of match-fixing in Nagpur. He was suspended for six months after that, but still respects the late South African skipper.

"(Despite) the cloud that hangs over his legacy, I can tell you that I’ve never played with anyone who possessed such a die-hard attitude to winning," Gibbs stated.
The poor performance of the national team in recent years also came under fire from Gibbs, who was himself blamed for contributing to that. "We've got to admit that the Proteas have underachieved in international cricket over the past decade."

Gibbs summed up his own indiscretions, which included a confession to pulling out some of his wife Tenielle Povey's hair while he was driving during a fight. "As explosive as my batting can be, it hasn't quite matched the pyrotechnics of my life off the field," Gibbs wrote.

(Published 31 October 2010, 12:16 IST)

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