South Africa January 15, 2007

Gibbs is part of wider problem

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

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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