Cape Town: Had destiny deemed otherwise, Herschelle Gibbs would have been at the SuperSport Park tackling Australiaís awesome attack. Instead, South Africaís highest run-getter in the World Cup (384 at an average of just below 100), is heading for the golf course to recover from the shock of a league-stage exit.
Having been a member of the South African XI which lost that tied semi-final, in 1999, heartbreaks arenít new to Gibbs. Still, these are difficult days and Gibbs has acknowledged as much in his signed column, Herschelleís World, which appeared in Fridayís edition of Cape Times.
The following are excerpts
ďI have spent (or tried to spend) some quality time with those people closest to me, but Iím the sort who needs company, particularly on a golf course... So, Iíll be there for the next couple of weeks and catching up with family and friends. Iíll certainly watch the rest of the tournament on TV ó I wonít be avoiding it ó but donít ask me who I think will win...
ďEverybody in the squad is trying to come to terms with our early exit.. I know a lot of the guys turned their phones off for a couple of days... Never in my worst or wildest dreams did I imagine this would happen. Sometimes, I may have thought about losing in the final or even the semi-final, but...
ďSome people see it as a simple equation ó one run off one ball ó and, to be fair, thatís what it ended up as... But, there was a ton of thought and planning that went into the run chase before it came down to that... The Team Management did its best... Some of the criticism has been unfair ó we may have got it wrong, but it wasnít as if the Team Management was just hoping for the best...
ďItís like a bad cut with stitches: It doesnít stop you from getting on with life, but you have to treat it gently.Ē
Contacted on his cellphone, Gibbs told The Telegraph: ďFrankly, I donít wish to add to what Iíve written... The disappointments and... Itís part of cricket, thatís the way it goes... In time, one has to accept what is reality. You canít run away.Ē
Gibbs, at least, is trying to make the best of a terrible bargain.
Incidentally, South African cricket continues to be at the receiving end ó even off the field: United Cricket Board president Percy Sonn, who was nailed for misbehaving (under the influence of alcohol) after the India-Holland match in Paarl, has failed to make the shortlist for possible judicial appointments.