Guest Columnist

Cullinan responds to Gibbs

2010-11-02 07:44
Daryll Cullinan (File)
Cape Town - I feel compelled to answer and put the record straight with regard to comments and actions attributed to me by Herschelle Gibbs in his latest book.

For too long the truth has not been told with regard to the dope smoking incident during the West Indies tour of 2001.

Team manager, Goolam Rajah and coach Graham Ford, came to know of the players dope smoking the morning after the incident. Rajah had to deal with Gibbs’s distressed girlfriend due to his behaviour. 

Ford’s wife had smelt the marijuana, as their room was alongside the room where the smoking took place. She informed her husband who in turn informed Rajah. Rajah and Ford told me of this.

En route from Kingston to Montego Bay, Ford approached me about the matter. I was of the opinion that the players should be sent home.

He then said that Shaun Pollock, the team captain, did not want the guilty players sent home due to it eroding the affirmative base and affecting the team's chances of winning.

Further to this, Rajah called a meeting with the senior players to discuss the matter with them.

Rajah in private asked me what he should do. He had been given more responsibility as the team manager in light of the recent King Commission.

I reminded him that if this ever came out he would once again be fingered for his lack of control as team manager. I suggested that he, at least, put it on record with United Cricket board of South Africa.

After the above chain of events, it is highly irresponsible and defamatory for Gibbs to allege that I spilt the beans in Montego Bay after an altercation with Roger Telemachus. Rajah later called a team meeting and confirmed that he had informed the United Cricket Board of South Africa of the dope smoking incident.

Gibbs alleges that there was physical contact during my altercation with Telemachus in the Montego Bay dressing room. For Gibbs to claim this is laughable as they were other players present.

Telemachus, for the second time on the tour, verbally abused me after my strong reaction to his lack of changing room respect and decency. The first incident was in the Antiguan changing room after the series win.

Whilst in possession of the marijuana, I advised him of the consequences of his actions and if he was to indulge, then to at least do it away from the hotel and families. (The UCB ultimately fined him R1 000 for abusing me and, as it was his second offence on tour, a further R1 000. He had to apologise to me in the presence of the whole touring squad).

But my reaction to his childishness ran deeper. Once again, as was the case in the King commission, the team and games integrity was at stake. For a person like Gibbs to violate his existing suspension for a previous misdemeanour with drug taking was incomprehensible and smacked of someone who thought he was beyond reproach and the game.

It subsequently became media rumour that I had leaked the story whilst playing county cricket in England. The only person I shared the story with in confidence and privacy, was former coach and friend Bob Woolmer.

No statement from the United Cricket board was forthcoming with regard to the above rumours.

I eventually phoned Percy Sonn who confirmed that it was the United Cricket Board who had released the story and in his own words said, “Daryll, we will rather take a klap for it now than later”.

The United Cricket Board eventually released an official statement that I in no way was guilty of divulging any information on the dope smoking incident to the team manager or media.

I trust this clears up the matter and I urge future publishers, authors and sportsmen to show integrity and authenticity when recounting issues of such a controversy.

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Daryll Cullinan is a former Proteas cricketer and current SuperSport commentator

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    herschelle gibbs

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