Herschelle Gibbs had his usual breakfast of cereal and fruit on Sunday morning and pondered a brilliant tour. Centuries in both Tests and one-dayers and the batting form of his life. But he wasn’t quite finished.
“I think we should give the Zimbabweans something special to remember,” he said ahead of the third and final match at the Harare Sports Club.
A couple of years ago the same comment might have sounded derogatory or arrogant, but it was simply his way of saying ‘I feel good, in fact I feel great and I want to make it count.’
Eight consecutive scoring shots were boundaries in his fantastic 39 – his skill was frightening at times. He was surely set to come good on his threat when umpire Mohammad Essat cut him down in his prime with an lbw decision right out of the bottom drawer.
Some bad decisions call for anger, some for frustration and some for downright suspicion. But Essat’s raising of the finger in Gibbs’ direction called for humour. Seriously, as much fun and entertainment as he probably robbed the audience of, the decision was just plain funny.
When a professional darts player misses the board completely and his expensive, tungsten tool lands on the floor, it is funny. When a rugby player drops the ball in the in-goal area it is funny. Be honest – any total cock-up is amusing . . . as long as nothing too serious depends on it.
So when Herschelle starting smiling on his way back to the pavilion who could help but love him? The point is, it WAS funny and the “new” Herschelle could see that it was. If his life skills course taught him anything, it is that cricket is not life and death.
Any bets that the ICC will soon decree smiling to be dissent?
Personally, I reckon the umpire was subconsciously persuaded to end Gibbs’ innings out of a sense of mercy for Zimbabwe’s bowlers.
Whatever – as long as Herschelle keeps smiling.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.