Gibbs’ hasty recall

Neil Manthorp – 18/12/2000

Is it just my imagination or is there really a desire to see Herschelle Gibbs back in the national side with disgustingly indecent haste? As regular readers of this column will surely testify, Hersch has few greater admirers than me, but honestly – the man was banned for an extremely serious offense and that ban has still not expired.

I don’t mean to offend the literary geniuses out there, but for those of you who never quite caught the gist of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, the part I remember most was the angst of Hamlet.

Apart from a problematic relationship with his girlfriend and a father who had just died and come back to speak to him as a ghost, Hamlet really struggled to come to terms with the fact that his oddball mother married his uncle before his father had even begun to cool in his grave. I think the phrase “indecent haste” cropped up once or twice.

Apart from that, Herschelle hadn’t scored a hundred before Saturday’s Standard Bank match against the Highveld Strikers and his form simply didn’t merit a selectorial mention, let alone recall. And yet there were clammerings from all over the place for his recall…

The man who replaced him (Boeta Dippenaar) scored a Test century in his last innings while Daryll Cullinan and Lance Klusener may not have covered themselves in glory during the New Zealand Test series but they were part of a winning team and did nothing to suggest they should be left out.

Nothing at all.

The real point is this: there is NO ROOM in the Test XI at the moment and Herschelle is simply going to have to wait his turn.

He is amongst the best three batsmen in South Africa (Kallis is first, surely?) and there is no doubt that he will return and resume his international career, but he will have to wait for a natural opportunity to present itself.

Back in 1998 the fact that Herschelle was coloured worked in his favour and a place was ‘created’ at the top of the order to accommodate him.

He seized that chance with both, brilliant hands. It says much for the continuing integration in South African cricket that his colour is irrelevant in the current squad, although it does the man himself no favours in regaining his place.


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