Gibbs gives food for thought

2012-01-23 13:48

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town -- Shhh ... here’s a quiet little poser: might the Proteas yet be willing to make room for an ageing “mercenary” with a healthily smoking gun in their plans for and ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later this year?

I refer, of course, to a certain Herschelle Herman Gibbs, presently playing with a rare level of consistency and sparkle for Perth Scorchers in the not insignificant environment of Australia’s Big Bash League.

Gibbs was pivotal for his Western Australian franchise once more on Saturday, his innings of 71 off 46 balls providing the foundations for their semi-final triumph over the Shane Warne-infused Melbourne Stars – already guaranteeing their ticket to the lucrative annual Champions League T20 event.

The Scorchers will now play Sydney Sixers in the final at the WACA on Saturday, meaning in-form Gibbs will square up to old former international adversaries Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill.

The Cape Cobras favourite -- still contracted to his hometown franchise although he has become something of a T20 tournament journeyman -- turns 38 in February, but appears to have found a new lease on life in the Big Bash, where he is the tournament’s second-highest run-scorer.

Gibbs has lashed 302 runs from only six matches at an average of 50.33 and strike rate of 152.52, including four half-centuries: he has not “failed” in any of his last five knocks, managing a score of at least 38 and usually considerably more each time.

Cricinfo described him as the “driving force” behind the Scorchers’ innings of 174 for three in the semi, until his dismissal in the 17th over.

The larger-than-life customer earned the last of his 23 T20 international caps for his country in May 2010, at the last ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, and admittedly had fallen prey to erratic performances at the top level.

There may also be a suspicion in some circles that Cricket South Africa have rather washed their hands of the veteran now, especially given his chequered disciplinary record and some slightly tawdry revelations about his personal life in his much-discussed autobiography, shadow-written by Steve Smith.

But a stronger emphasis gradually falls on T20 activity now in this year of the international get-together – the Proteas will play three matches in that format against New Zealand on their away tour which starts next month – and the resurgent claims of Gibbs cannot summarily be dismissed.

National selection chief Andrew Hudson basically confirmed as much to Sport24 on Monday, albeit with a slightly guarded: “We will never write off any cricketer; all franchise cricketers are considered at every selection meeting.”

One known fact about Gibbs is that when the mood grabs him he is still in that valued club of batsmen truly capable of “taking a game away” from the opposition.

He also has the advantage of increasingly specialising in the Twenty20 arena, making him ever wiser to the specific pressures and demands of the code.

Although I would be reluctant to put too much dosh on it, perhaps a Proteas recall is not as far-fetched as it may have seemed a few weeks ago?

*The Big Bash final will be screened live on SuperSport (SS2) at 10:30 on Saturday.


  • Deon - 2012-01-23 14:05

    Gibbs and Kallis to open and give Smith a T20 breather.

      Kritesh Harpaul - 2012-01-23 15:12

      You mean give Smith the boot:-)

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-01-23 15:26

      Gibbs for prez!!!

      Dhirshan - 2012-01-23 15:57

      give hersch a bells ! ok maybe not the best idea haha

      Brent - 2012-01-24 11:07

      keep kallis out of the pro 20s and give a young gun a chance

  • Xoli - 2012-01-23 14:06

    Give him a chance, he might just be our lucky charm

  • paul.ramncwana - 2012-01-23 14:21

    He is a legend i don't care where u come from everybody at sometime of they life was a Gibbs fan. Bring him back!!

      Xoli - 2012-01-23 14:26

      True boss...

      Dhirshan - 2012-01-23 15:56

      true larny

      Ntombizonke - 2012-01-24 11:07

      you can say that again, bring H. Gibbs back.

  • Chrono - 2012-01-23 14:24

    The guy enjoys some consistency at last but I have my doubts whether he will not prove to have a negative effect on a team because of his history of misbehaving in a variety of ways. I am sure he wil not be chosen for the Proteas.They are not that hardup for his services.

      Max - 2012-01-23 14:34

      Great guy and fun to have in team and always likely to have those magic knocks, but probably more likely to score consistently off the pitch than on it at the moment.

      Allen - 2012-01-23 15:04

      Hey Chrono, Herschelle Gibbs is a better batsman and fielder than most of the incumbents in the Proteas presently. His shennanigans are in the past, and it seems that he has pulled himself together. All cricket fans would love to see him bat again, even if he scores only 20 runs, it'll usually be off 8 balls! If he comes off, the sky is usually the limit! I would let Graeme Smith make way for Gibbs, what harm can it do? Remember, he still the only batsman to score 36 runs in an over off an Australian!

      Burtfred - 2012-01-23 15:28

      Don't write Scooter off just yet. Gary Kirsten is very good mates with him.

      Max - 2012-01-23 15:48

      Will be great to have him back without any pressure on him

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-23 16:38

      Allen, as far as I can remember it was off a Dutch bowler? Or was it an Aussie playing for the Dutch team?

  • Gerald - 2012-01-23 14:27

    But will the Sri Lankan slow low turning pitches suit Gibbs? I have my doubts.

      Deon - 2012-01-23 15:07

      He did not do too bad a few years ago in West India - 6 x 6 in an over.

      Gerald - 2012-01-23 17:13

      @Deon. Yeah, but then we were playing the proverbial "blind school" (Netherlands) Don't get me wrong, I have always believed Gibbs has had immense talent but due to some or other reasons he just never really brought that talent to full fruition. That's why he was so inconsistent.

      Ntombizonke - 2012-01-24 11:10

      @Gerald Did you watch the match on Friday and Sunday, we need Gibbs. I don't know what Ingram and Peterson were doing

  • Ndira - 2012-01-23 14:38

    with Gibbs,Amla,Kallis,AD,Faf and Morkel Who could stop us!!!

      angel.moonsamy - 2012-01-23 14:55

      G. Smith aka Biff

      Thomas - 2012-01-23 23:30

      Niggle and nudge "Faf" in T20 I don't get it!! Can't bowl and can't hit the ball out the park, not needed bring back Gibbs!!!!!!!!!1

  • Hangwani - 2012-01-23 14:45

    Yes he is great, please give him a chance.

  • Naseem.Gooner.Terblanche - 2012-01-23 14:46

    always said this guy is whats need>>>>>still my fav batsman

  • Xoli - 2012-01-23 14:50

    one word six sixes vs Netherlands....any more questions

      Gungets - 2012-01-23 21:40

      Oh please. Leave it with the 6 x 6's. That is a flash in the pan and was sheer luck - even he will tell you that. If you say 175 at Wanderers against Australia, then fine, but the 6 x 6's is no criteria at all.

  • Andre Ernstzen - 2012-01-23 15:13

    Give that man a contract

  • Bob - 2012-01-23 15:22

    The guy has more talent than the rest of the proteas side put together, with the exception of AB of course, truly world class, just mis-managed earlier in his career.

      Greg - 2012-01-23 17:14

      Ever heard of a guy called Jacques Kallis??

      Gungets - 2012-01-23 21:42

      Mismanaged - are you kidding me. He is a nutcase, you would manage him how, exactly. He did not give a toss about anybody but himself, go out and get plastered the night before games. Forget him, we have better players who care about their team mates and their reputation.

  • Solly - 2012-01-23 16:33

    what are you smoking Deon???

  • aruan999 - 2012-01-23 16:49

    take Gibbsie on any tour to a non-alcoholic country!

  • Stephen - 2012-01-23 19:57

    Honestly Sport24 could post an article about inter-provincial tiddly-winks and the boring anti-Smith brigade will still take a poke at him. People the song is getting really old

  • andy4real - 2012-01-23 21:11

    Gibbs for President, The People's choice

  • Brent - 2012-01-24 11:10

    heheh gibbs - giving smith and kallis headaches

  • Evan - 2012-01-24 12:03

    Even if Gibbs were making 100 per game, something tells me that the selectors combined with those with political agendas would not allow him back. Pity that it's not cricket that wins, but politics. Gibbs would be a great choice, great fielder and primed for 20/20 but somehow I doubt it.

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