Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo
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Cape Cobras captain Andrew Puttick confirmed that Herschelle Gibbs opted out due to the security scare which preceded their game against Victoria in Bangalore. The game was delayed after an Under-22 cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir, staying at the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) complex in the Chinnaswamy Stadium, was detained in connection with the suspected presence of explosives at the venue. He was subsequently released after questioning, and the authorities gave the go-ahead for the match to take place. "It was his personal decision," Puttick said of Gibbs' decision to stay back. "He felt he was not mentally up for the game after what happened."
It was not a surprise that on a day when a security scare delayed the game, not one player was asked anything about cricket in the post-match press conference. The game was a relatively dull affair with Victoria unable to play at their optimum level, and all questions revolved around how the scare affected the teams' preparation.
Puttick said it was left to the individual players to make up their mind about whether to play. "There was lots of confusion initially," he said. "It was a really a difficult situation as there were lots of reports flying around. As for Gibbs, we as a team respected the decision. If you are not comfortable, then there is no use playing."
Cape Cobras didn't let Gibbs' absence affect them, and were mentally switched on for the game from the first over where they picked two key wickets. "I am really proud about how the guys turned up today and were able to focus quickly," Puttick said. "I didn't have to say anything special to the team; maybe we all thought what more can happen, 'let's just go and play the game.'"
Cape Cobras coach, Shukri Conrad, added that there were a few team meetings before it was agreed that a majority would play.
Victoria's captain Cameron White didn't directly blame the episode for the below-par performance, but said it wasn't the ideal preparation. "We don't know whether it affected our performance or not. But it wasn't ideal," he said. "We didn't even know whether we were going to ground at one point. We just got the news from the TV initially but were quickly given a briefing later.
Obviously we were reluctant to come at one point of time but once our security company gave us the full details and assured us about the security we decided to come to ground. We will have sit down in the next couple of days and see whether we let the incident affect our focus."