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."