| Gibbs: Could have made amends
Cape Town: South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs wishes Australian Test captain Steve Waugh was still in the one-day side so he could atone for one of the most embarrassing dropped catches in cricket history.
The opener showboated when taking the most routine of catches, in the process allowing the ball to spill from his grasp during a Super Six game at the 1999 tournament in England.
His error allowed Waugh to make a match-winning century, Australia going on to be crowned world champions after knocking out the South Africans following an extraordinary tied semi-final.
“Unfortunately, Steve’s not going to be here this time,” Gibbs said Wednesday. “It would have been nice to may be catch him and win it this time.”
Gibbs said the current South African team was a different side altogether, with a new attitude to taking on the Australians.
“Australia are a great team but when we’ve played them in the past, we haven’t done as a unit,” he said. “This is the difference with the team at the moment — we’re playing with a lot more spirit and playing a lot more for each other.
“I think people would love to see an Australia-South Africa final. It would a great chance to settle the scores.”
Gibbs has had a chequered career since the last World Cup. He was banned for six months in 2000 after admitting he colluded with former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje to influence matches, and was one of five players implicated in a marijuana scandal on a tour of West Indies in 2001.
All that is a matter of history for Gibbs, who wears the number ‘00’ on the back of his South African one-day shirt as an indication of his fresh start following the match-fixing saga.
“I know I’ve stuffed up before, but I’m not now trying to prove to people that I can play. You always want your bat to do the talking because that’s the only way you can silence your critics.
“At the end of the day, I’m still a human being, we’ve all made our mistakes. All I’ve ever wanted to do is to show people that I can play this game and make it worthwhile for people when they come and watch us,” Gibbs said. “Hopefully, I’ll have the last laugh.”
Gibbs has struck a purple patch over the past six months and is widely tipped to be one of the players of the tournament. Despite the pressure on him to perform in front of his home fans, the flamboyant right hander says he is ready to produce.
“I’ve played quite a big role in our success over the past few months leading up to the World Cup but I’ve never really worried about pressure,” he said.