The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ICC scanner on ‘retired hurt’ Gibbs
- South African camp raises doubts about fitness and discipline

Colombo, Sept. 26: South Africa’s loss to India in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final yesterday has opened a can of worms.

The manner in which Herschelle Gibbs retired hurt because of cramps in his hands and legs and the way the match turned on its head after he left the field have thrown up several questions. The International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit will seek videotapes of the match, something they have been doing for every game in the tournament.

“A copy has already been sought. I cannot reveal any further information,” said an ICC spokesman. Gibbs has already served a ban for his role in match fixing.

Sources in the South African camp have, however, raised doubts over the physical fitness and discipline of some of the players.

Lance Klusener is a case in point and it is widely believed that he has been retained despite his indifferent showing because of his closeness to an influential member of the think-tank.

It is learnt that South Africa was planning to send Gibbs a second time into the middle during the death overs but ran out of time. Klusener’s inability to force the pace at a crucial time has also raised several eyebrows. According to the plan, Klusener was to have gone for the big hits while the well-settled Jacques Kallis rotated the strike.

“That’s his make-up. He’s always had problems with cramps,” South African coach Eric Simons told The Telegraph on Gibbs’ fitness concerns.

“We tried to be very clever in the way we prepared for matches because of the hot and humid conditions here. We had a full three-four days rehydration preparation leading up to this game but still it happened. It needs to be dealt with differently. It’s not necessarily a fitness issue,” the coach added.

The dropping of Nicky Boje is also certain to raise many critical questions. Boje’s experience with the bat could have come in handy for South Africa.

According to another school of thought, the side needs an infusion of young blood even at the cost of some of the seniors.

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