LONDON – Ottis Gibson is a West Indian. His natural style is laid-back, and it’s the environment that he tries to create within the dressing room.
However, when it’s time for business, he is accustomed to watching his players take care of it. Just like when he was at helm of the Windies side that won the World T20 in 2012.
Gibson has found out that South Africans are a little bit different. They dominate meaningless bilateral series, but approach global tournament cricket with the same apprehension of a teenager about to sit for his Matric exams.
The last few weeks have been mystifying for the Barbadian as the Proteas have slumped from one defeat to another at this World Cup. Modern greats, normally blessed with silky wrists and the movement of a gazelle, suddenly found their feet stuck in clay.
Gibson was at pains to pin-point what the root cause of the problems are, even asking for some time to reflect before offering up any explanations for the Proteas’ woes.
He was, though certain that unlike when the likes of Marlon Samuels put his hand up in the cauldron of Colombo back in 2012 for the Windies, it is the most experienced men in the Proteas that have let the team down the most.
“There are a lot of world class players in our dressing room, and I can only speak about this World Cup, I can’t speak about previous World Cups, but it seems like guys have been sort of hampered in putting their best forward.
We play very good cricket in bilateral series. We won eight out of 10 games before we came here, but we haven’t been able to do it here. That is something I need to sit down as a coach and work out,” Gibson said.
“The experienced players are the ones I have said this before in the media that if you look at teams that have won World Cups in the past, it is the experienced players that have stood up. Our experienced players haven’t stood up in this World Cup yet. That is just the way it is.”
Gibson admitted that the disappointment of South Africa being on the brink of exiting this World Cup was still “raw”, but it was clear to see on the 50-year-old’s face that the most disturbing part of this whole fiasco was the failure to execute a positive gameplan that he tried to instil since his appointment just on two years go.
“We have spoken about being positive and aggressive and taking the game forward for a long time. Basically, since I have been here.
“But when it comes to this stage guys go into their shell a bit and it is a little surprising to be honest.
"I keep going back to the way we played in Sri Lanka where we won the series. There was a lot a talk about us not being able to play spin, and we went over there, and they played two spinners, sometimes three and we got 300 in one game, and guys played really well and guys played with freedom, and we came to the World Cup and we have not been able to sort of reach those heights.”
Gibson may ultimately, though, not be the man to rectify these faults as his contract expires in September.
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