January 15, 2007

South Africa

Gibbs is part of wider problem

Kamran Abbasi
Herschelle Gibbs towels down after training, Ahmedabad, October 23, 2006
 © Getty Images


International cricket is not for those of a weak constitution, nor should it be a forum for racism. Herschelle Gibbs may have uttered his words for "ears only" but such an excuse is not acceptable in a public arena. Chris Broad's decision to ban Gibbs is correct, whether or not the ban is sufficient is another matter. South Africa, too, can have no complaints, particularly since Graeme Smith managed to have Shoaib Akhtar banned for swearing during his team's last tour of Pakistan.

The fans who abused Paul Harris and struck Makhaya Ntini are a disgrace to Pakistani supporters everywhere. This sorry incident has no winners.

But it does expose a deeper problem with South African cricket. Smith's team fully deserved their victory, Pakistan were outplayed, but the manner of the victory left something to be desired. The snarling--and persistent--abuse that South Africa's players hurled at Pakistan's players went some way beyond sledging. It is amazing that the umpires tolerated it.

The behaviour of South Africa's players created a vile atmosphere in this first Test match, and whether or not it was for ears or eyes only it was evident for the world to see. These antics do not excuse the behaviour of Pakistan's fans but it surely contributed to their agitation.

All credit to Cricket South Africa for further investigating Herschelle Gibbs but what they really should be doing is considering the public conduct of their team. It is conduct that does little for the image of the Rainbow Nation.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Wesley on (July 5, 2007, 20:24 GMT)

I can't believe people are accusing Gibbs of being a racist.

He was refering to the behaviour of those fans who were taunting Ntini and Harris.

People need to take their blinkers off.

Posted by shoaib on (February 14, 2007, 13:54 GMT)

I am extremely sorry if my comments hurt anyone on the blog but it was how I felt after some of the incidents took place and watching the press confrences of m.speed at bbc after the ovalfiasco where wanted $500,000 to retire ...and then the doping issues and then reading the articles.... so if I hurted anyone I am extremely sorry please please please forgive me if possible. recent statements shows he is lost in his own mama-world .....he was the one who called muralitharan no-ball first time and also called inzy runout in faislabad when inzy was taking evasive action as I said he is lost in his own mama-world and he needs to come out of that and let everyone enjoy the game....

I am sorry once again if my comments hurted anyone please forgive me.

Posted by pierre on (February 12, 2007, 16:35 GMT)

I think it very sad that peaople can make statements on racism in South Africa based on the past especially when you consider the countries they come from are reknowned for being the worst racist countries in the world. Not allowed to marry between casts and every cast is better than the next so they are discriminated against. Children are forced into marriage and so on.

Needless to say how conveniently the PCB brought in their go to man to chair the drugs ban appeal on a couple of pakistani players which got overturned because they pleaded ignorance. Which as far as I am concerned is not an excuse.

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Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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