The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shut up or leave, Kirsten tells Gibbs

Durban: Herschelle Gibbs’ adverse comments about South African captain Shaun Pollock has not gone down well with his teammates.

“If Gibbs doesn’t want to play under the current management, then he should get out and find another team to play for,” veteran opener Gary Kirsten said Wednesday.

“For a man who’s been involved in match-fixing, smoking dagga (a narcotic) and late-night shenanigans, to criticise his captain in that way is unbelievable.”

Gibbs had said during the launching of his autobiography that Pollock has still a lot to learn and the team missed Hansie Cronje’s leadership skills.

“He’s the last person who should open his mouth, whatever his private thoughts be. He’s batting extremely well, so he should have confined his contribution to the field,” Kirsten added.

Meanwhile, the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) chief executive Gerald Majola hoped that the back-biting among the players will finally get over.

“I have spoken to (coach) Eric Simons and he assures me that all the players are behind their captain, behind their team and behind their nation.

“What we require now is total focus on the job at hand, which is to win all the remaining matches in the round-robin stage of this World Cup.

“Anything short of that will bring further disappointment to every South African fan,” Majola added.

South Africa lost two of their first three group B matches and need to win their next three to have a chance of progressing to the Super Six stage.

“Looking back at eras will not help this cause, especially when Shaun needs all the support he can get to lead us to victory, Majola added.

“These players are young and sometimes they say things without thinking,” he added.

Last month Jonty Rhodes, flanked by a nodding Allan Donald, had dedicated the 2003 World Cup to Cronje, calling him an “extra special person”.

Cronje died in a plane crash in June, after being banned for life for his prominent role in the match-fixing scandal. Cronje admitted accepting $130,000 in bribes from bookmakers to influence international matches. The UCBSA president Percy Sonn, echoed by World Cup executive director Ali Bacher, has said players do not have the right to dedicate the Cup to one person.

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