New role for Herschelle?

2010-04-23 09:23

Cape Town - In the second instalment of a two-part Q&A by Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing with GRAEME SMITH, the Proteas captain talks specifically on the imminent ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

Click HERE for Part 1

Observers arguably aren’t hyping up the Proteas for the World Twenty20 quite as much as they’ve tended to do for previous ICC one-day tournaments. Is that a bit of a blessing?
Ja, I mean … when you’ve been to a few tournaments you just sort of deal with (whatever pundits are saying). But we can just go about our work; the thing about the T20 format is that one key performance on a day, one great bowling spell … and you can win or lose on that. In the last one (in England) we played some great cricket, we were ready for it. But then Pakistan brought some unpredictable elements and maybe in some respects we were just too “well-planned” when we encountered them.  These T20 tournaments are so short; you really need to think on your feet and make right decisions at right times – that’s the challenge for everyone. Maybe trust gut feels a bit more …

Do you anticipate par scores being a little lower on the West Indian pitches than would ordinarily be the T20 case?
Look, myself, Corrie (van Zyl), Vinnie (Barnes) and the selectors have some ideas on what our XI should be and where we want to go strategically. I imagine the surfaces will get slower and more worn during the event, as they did in England, with some turn. That first week there, with the warm-up games and so on … there’ll be a lot of information-gathering on the local cricketing climate.

Can you pinpoint an obvious dangerous team, outside of your own?
World cricket is quite fluid at the moment. I think you’ll see Australia really “competing” in this tournament now. I sometimes think the biggest challenge in Twenty20 is not so much getting the right players – though that’s important – but formulating your style of play. The Aussies have (settled on) three big fast bowlers, and have found a few power-hitters to slot into the right area. But then your unpredictable teams like Sri Lanka and India have so much ability. It will also be interesting to see how a side like England go … I genuinely think it’s wide open. It should be worth watching for that very reason. No case of knowing in advance that a particular team ought to roll so-and-so, as might have been the case in some ICC tournaments (in the past).

The Kallis factor: he just seems to show no signs of deterioration as an all-rounder, despite his 34 years. When’s he finally going to lose his edge?
All he loses, more and more, is his hair! The batting aspect … he’s got himself so fit now; shed a lot of weight. I think that one bad season he had in his career (around the 2008 tour of England – Sport24) just motivated and spurred him more. He’s a very self-motivated guy: quite introverted, but inside a big fire burns in him, in terms of what he wants to achieve. We’ve become good friends over the years and to see Jakes performing as he has been … it’s very rewarding. As a bowler, being still able to hit 135-140km/h is the really big revelation, that strength he shows. Touch wood, he seems to recover (from injuries) fast and not get many of them. I think the big tick for him is having found a way to be successful in the T20 format.

JP Duminy seems to have got some form back, towards the tail-end of the IPL. But won’t off-spinners still be queuing up to have a crack at him whenever possible?

I don’t know if it’s so much an off-spin (problem) or whether he just got into a broader rut, and the weight of expectation on his shoulders got a bit much for a while. They have thrown some off-spinners at him in the IPL and he’s coped fine, I think. More than anything with JP, when you go through a tough trot like that, there’s a lot of noise in your head and you feel that pressure. Perhaps not playing in the initial stages of the IPL was a good thing …a chance to sit back and get away from the coalface. He’s bounced back with some runs. His finishing capabilities in this format are important to us, not forgetting his own bowling. I still think his own biggest challenge is not to over-complicate. He’s got a really good head on his shoulders, a humble guy. But he wants things so badly … it can over-complicate his life.

No more Andrew Hall type of player, and Charl Langeveldt is not getting any younger as a death bowler. Does new face Rusty Theron have the temperament to do that job for you, either in this tournament or up the line?

I hope so; he’s certainly done it over the last few seasons at domestic level and deserves this chance for South Africa. I don’t know Rusty personally that well; not played much cricket with him. I’ll get to know him better over there. I’d like him to stick to what works for him; I hope he hasn’t been confused by too much “try this, try that” in the IPL. Keep it simple: he’s got natural variation in his action and it’s about working with that. International cricket brings different pressures, but I think he’ll be fine. Don’t forget we’ve got Parny (Wayne Parnell) who is still very young and developing all the time. Here’s a 20-year-old always bowling up front, always bowling in power-plays and always at the death! He’s learning the hard way and it’s good. I still hopes Langers pushes at this event and then for the 2011 World Cup as well – having his experience among our group of bowlers is nice.

You seem to have a healthy stock of boundary-seeking batsmen?
You need to have your top five do the hard yards, maybe with one of them batting through, and setting it up for some guys down the order to do the “finishing” … maybe aiming for 100 in the last 10. I’m thinking you could even look at someone like Hersch (Gibbs) operating in the lower middle-order, maybe finishing rather than starting T20 games. Perhaps he’s better used for that last power-play in one-day cricket. Those are things to chew on. I know it’s a mind-shift for him, but the way he’s playing at the moment, you almost need the game to dictate itself for him. Maybe holding him back to power-plays gives him a clearer focus on exactly what he’s (got to do).


  • Oom Koos - 2010-04-23 09:55

    Herschelle Gibbs?? Come-on, the man will mess it up again. When the chips are really down he does not perform. Look at his track record!!

  • face it - 2010-04-23 10:00

    Herschell will have good series....since theres is some nice dagga in the Caribean. You go boy

  • Oom Koos - 2010-04-23 10:04

    Herschelle Gibbs?? Come-on, the man will mess it up again. When the chips are really down he does not perform. Look at his track record!!

  • henk - 2010-04-23 10:20

    time for smith to GO!!!!!

  • Arthur - 2010-04-23 10:29

    I hope smith stays as captain for a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time, just so to irritate these trolls like HENK and THE MAN

  • Burgiesburnin - 2010-04-23 10:37

    As long as the Proteas stick with jobs for the boys mentality they will never develop. They make up the numbers in big events and then wilt anyway as we all expect. I hope Gibbs lets his probation officer know that he,s going overseas and probably on the missing list.

  • dyl - 2010-04-23 10:55

    @ oom koos. look back in hershelles record, he was only the 1 that lead us to victory in the biggest ever total chased, i think that is performing when the chips are down, all of our players have the talent, they just need to perform on the day.

  • Nelly - 2010-04-23 11:01

    Fortunately Henk will never be a selector! I doubt if he has played the game. Speak to the SA Team and any of the Opposition. Graeme Smith is compared with the best Captains and strategists on the field of play. We will always have ill-informed critics. I normally ignore them.

  • Dgs - 2010-04-23 11:03

    After watching the dismal performance of the SA players in the two semi finals of the IPL, as well as those who have played for the other 4 teams, I am certainly not optimistic about the Prorea's chances in the upcoming ICC T20

  • Deonic - 2010-04-23 11:22

    Leadership, especially in cricket, requires exceptional skills in various respects. Smith has got it. People who are not experienced or mature enough can, unfortunately, not appreciate this. We will forever have to tolerate those immature individuals that resist and fight against any form of authority, and who don't understand the demands of leadership. It is that very shortcoming that will keep such individuals from ever being effective leaders themself. Unfortunately, some of those individuals have internet access, and have aquired some basic typing skills, but they have not necessarily mastered the discipline of spelling. Kepler Wessels, Clive Rice, Hansie Cronje, Mike Atherton, Steve Waugh, Alan Border, Ricky Ponting, Stephen Fleming, and a lot more were all decent captains, but not the most likeable of characters. Being a cricket captain requires a single-minded determination, discipline and leadership that borders on arrogance for one to be successfull. Nice guys come second - Polly, Sachin etc.

  • Arthur - 2010-04-23 11:38

    I trust that Mickey is not your first name, becuae the box smith is arrogant and unimpressive...

  • Craig - 2010-04-23 11:50

    New role for Hersh? Then who's bringing the Brandy and Dope??

  • forever Proteas - 2010-04-23 12:56

    oh stop whining! we have a great team and great captain, deal with it! he's not going anywhere not with his record anyway, at least he's got some sense enough not care what some of u dimwits think...So to all the Henks of this world, stop thinking! it'sdangerous, u'll hurt ur heads since it's an abnormal action for u...GO SMITH AND THE leats u don't have to do some stupid campaigns to get our support since u've earned it in loads................hey aren't we South African's a bunch, we seem to be the only ones in the world who don't know what a world class captain Smith is...shame

  • Hercelle Who? - 2010-04-23 13:31

    What about young David Miller. Throw him in the deep end. When you put youngsters into a tournament like this, they are fresh, and unaffected by over coaching. Look how the likes of David Warner for Oz, and Eoin Morgan did for England. The majority of SA's middle order hitters are becoming stale (snails pace 1 run a ball stuff). To make it in this format, the middle order need to maintain between 1.5 and 2 runs per over. Just look at Keiran Pollard - thats what wins you games. My T20 team as follows: Bosman, Smith, Kallis, AB, Gibbs, Boucher, Miller, Van Der Merwe, Parnell, Theron, Steyn. (back-up: Pieterson, Amla, Duminy,M.Van Wyk, D. Smit, Abdulah, J. Botha, Mclaren, A.Morkel,Philander,Tsosobe )

  • REdd - 2010-04-23 15:51

    Lets just get behind team people. It is sport afterall.

  • SAB - 2010-04-23 17:53

    Smith ....... you go boy and your team ...dont worry about these negative wakers that keep thinking negative!!

  • SAB - 2010-04-23 17:53

    Smith ....... you go boy and your team ...dont worry about these negative wakers that keep thinking negative!!

  • Greg - 2010-04-23 19:49

    You go Smith. Go smack em around, the way we know you can. Love Smith as captain. The best ever. A real legend

  • Ronnie - 2010-04-23 21:35


  • Lets play - 2010-04-24 00:42

    I don't want to sound negative but let's look at the pro 20 SA always drops the ball at the semis. We have players that goes out and bats the hell out of the other team at the IPL but when it comes to play for there country they fall out after two ball's. We have the world cup rugby in hand how about the pro 20 this year and if things should ever go wel for bafana bafana and they have to win the soccer we would be the best in all sport the first country ever to do so. But then again to dream is great. To Graeme and the rest of the boys show the world what you can do and bring that cup home.

  • Emile - 2010-04-24 06:47

    If you can't find any way to like Smith...just look at his record. Perfect!

  • Steadfast - 2010-04-24 08:48

    The Proteas have a good shot at winning this T20. Gibbs should stay at home and give a new youngster a shot.

  • cricketer - 2010-04-24 09:20

    ronnie doesnt know what the hell he's talking about. why dont u just buy yourself an aussie jersey and become a sheeplover?!!! graeme is a great player and captain. put yourself in his shoes and see how u do under all the pressure from a cricket loving nation, and politicians wanting ur scalp. go boys make us proud and bring us some silver!!!

  • Flewzie - 2010-04-24 09:39

    @Ronnie: you're quite obviously a real cricketing expert, so perhaps they'll listen to you and give 'Arthur' Smith the boot. Matter of interest: why do you even feel constrained to comment if you are that ignorant?

  • SMee - 2010-04-24 09:52

    Henk...u waker! Smith is 1 of the best players in the world. U guys just hate his guts.......

  • ACE16 - 2010-04-24 11:44

    Don't mean to sound negative but we will never win a 20/20 world cup with our current team and strategy. Don't believe there is place for Smith in our 20/20 (and only 20/20) team. Smith and Kallis fulfill the same role and we cant have both of them anchoring the innings. As great a player as he is, we cant have both of them and Kallis provides a bowling option, simple as that, emotions aside, thats a raw fact!!! Kallis (anchor) Bosman (aggressor) Gibbs (aggressor) AB (accumulator) Duminy (accumulator) Morkel (finisher) V/D/Merve (finisher) Boucher (finisher) Parnell Steyn Langeveldt That's an aggressive batting team with flexibility in the bowling department and I'm sorry to say, the only way we ever win any 20/20 competition!

  • claude - 2010-04-26 08:04

    A lot of fair comment nad some less so. I would leave Gibbs at home. He is not doing well and there is nothing to gain in hanging on to him. Kallis remains a problem as he is just too slow for this format. He did OK in India but when playing internationals he refuses to put his stats on the line and as someone else commented Smith is enough of an anchor.

  • tony botha - 2010-04-26 10:14

    I Think we have a good team,gibbs i think is past his prime. Smith must get off his high horse and play cricket.

  • Collitjies - 2010-04-26 10:54

    Gibbs ag no man, leave him out please he is no asset. As he ages becomes more and more useless. You could take along to serve refreshments after matches, I hear he is good at finding the best brandy available.

  • Durban Poison - 2010-04-26 16:14

    Gibbs,no asset (With a few lagers or arm driving down the bookies maybe!) and Smith must go, he thinks he is JC himself!

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