South Africa news November 2, 2010

Graeme Smith disappointed by Gibbs' clique claims

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has expressed his disappointment over the claims his team-mate Herschelle Gibbs made in his autobiography To The Point, in which Gibbs says Smith and three other senior players formed a clique that ran the team during coach Mickey Arthur's tenure. Gibbs had also described Smith as being "too powerful."

"My biggest sense of disappointment is that the team has always been there for him [Gibbs]," Smith told the Cape Times. "It's well documented that his team-mates and Cricket South Africa have always supported him through his troubles. We've been the one thing he could rely on."

Gibbs' book reveals how Arthur was often held hostage to this group of players, which also included Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher, and "bowed to senior players' opinions." Arthur had reacted saying that Gibbs "didn't know what was going on" when it came to player and management relationships," and Smith too defended the team environment under his watch.

"As for his talk of cliques among the senior players, if you go to any environment in the world there are senior groups who take leadership roles, whether in sport or anything else," Smith said. "Our success over the last three or four years proves that we have a good working environment.

"He's obviously gone with an angle that he's lived his life by and I think it shows more about his own insecurities than anything else."

Smith also said that the material in Gibbs' book concerning promiscuity on tours, alcohol and drug abuse referred to a period in the late 1990s and had nothing to do with the present side. "We're a professional outfit now, and we couldn't hope to have achieved the results we have over the last four years if we'd lived our lives like that," he said.

Gibbs is contracted to Cricket South Africa until next year and Tony Irish, the chief of the South African Cricketers Association, said CSA would decide in the next few days, after reading the book, whether to take action or not.

"I have had a few conversations with Gerald [Majola, the CSA chief executive] over the last couple of days, but not until CSA has actually read the book can a decision be made," Irish said. "There are processes that need to take place, and it is also important the content of the follow-ups about what Herschelle says in the various interviews he gives regarding his book. Cricket South Africa will decide in the next few days."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Craig on November 4, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    Agree with PTtheAxis, South Africa's failures in the big moments are due to Smith, not just his bad decision-making, but also this very obvious clique thing. A team has 11 players, and favouritism is a quick way to demotivate and divide a team. It seems to now thankfully be a thing of the past with van Zyl at the helm, so hopefully we can pull it off at the WC next year. Gibbs is simply telling things like they are instead of sweeping them under the carpet, as Smith and Arthur would like him to do.

  • Mark on November 3, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    I would not trust all that is written int he book, it is the world according to Gibbs. He also brags about his sexual exploits and how grand he is. This book was written to sell, whether there is that much truth in or not. An attempt at making money and spiting people because your career is over maybe? Gibbs is the only one to blame for his stop-start career. Gibbs also was never leadership material, so why be bitter about the senior players who have brought SA back to the top three in cricket. He is still under contract so I would love to see the UCB reaction.

  • Jordan on November 3, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    I think the real suprise in all this is that Gibbs actually WROTE A BOOK (although I think Mr. Ghostwriter may have given him some help).

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Smith is right. Every country has a leadership group. Its Ponting, Clarke, Hussey and Katich for Australia, no doubt Dhoni looks to Sachin and Dravid for advice and I'm sure Strauss looks to Alistair Cook and Collingwood for direction too. Gibbs should get over not being part of the clique because he wasn't as professional as the others. You'd have to say the players he mentioned always gave their all for SA which is more than can be said for Herschelle.

  • P on November 3, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    smith has been the reason for SA not getting their due despite having a better team than other countries ... losing to aussies in SA after their Oz-series win was all down to bad captaincy ... not being able to finish england off in SA ... losing the test in india after the steyn inspired test win ... world T20 defeats despite being favourites 3 times ... list goes on ... even botha has done better in his short tenure - beating aussies in 4-1 in oz (not many have achieved that) ... smith was never captiancy material ... besides being thick in the head (body bit is evident) he holds personal grudges which always showed in team selection & even bowling changes

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    gibs is alwys known to be in controversial person, its his personality and behaviour,so he will always make headlines wheather its good or bad . but most of the time, its been for bad .. thats the way he played his cricket, not surprised at all ..

  • Prem on November 2, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    I just don't understand when people talk of fining others over books. Free speech, anybody?

  • Fred on November 2, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    No you're quite right Kiwi-Muncher. Smithy and boys should be well aware of that

  • Sumith on November 2, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    The thing with Herschelle is,he is too much into making waves with uncanny techniques though his batting has a lot of canny stuff in Graeme mentioned,its more of Gibb's insecurities that popped up...Even if there had been a clique ever formed by JQ,AB,GS and Boucher,it has been for the good of the team...

  • Nadeem on November 2, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    furustrated Gibbs. Smith is definately too powerfull captain and he was all senior players support. Gibbs never got oppertunity to lead the team becuase of his previous involvement with match fixing.

    Now at the end of his carreer he is furustrated and wants to spill out what ever hurts him.

    Sad to see that Gibbs is writing things like that about SA team, SA is a power house and a great team due to all senior players.

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