Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
7 Jul 2019
6:32 pm

Ottis’ awkwardly mixed World Cup messages

Ken Borland

The Proteas coach says he doesn't want to make any excuses for the failures in England ... and then kinda does.

South Africa's head coach Ottis Gibson looks on from the balcony during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at the Riverside Ground, in Chester-le-Street, northeast England, on June 28, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

“It’s our fault, ultimately we did not play well and that’s not anyone in the boardroom’s fault,” Proteas coach Ottis Gibson admitted after South Africa exited the World Cup at the weekend albeit with an outstanding display to beat high-flying Australia at Old Trafford.

But Gibson did then proceed to give numerous reasons for South Africa’s painful performance at the World Cup, several of them verging awkwardly into the realm of excuses.

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Chief among his complaints seemed to be that he did not have enough time to prepare the team properly, having taken over as coach in August 2017.

“A team like England, who I was involved with up until the last World Cup, had Trevor Bayliss come in in 2015 and four years is a lot more time when you consider that I came in with 18 months [sic] to go. We had Kolpaks and injuries, especially in the last six months, that took important players out, plus Hashim Amla had a family situation he had to attend to.

“It all happened with the World Cup around the corner and we felt like we needed more time. It’s a big challenge to build a team and time was always against us. Guys also retired which put a strain on the system. People feel bad about the World Cup and rightly so, but we never had the team we wanted to bring here. We also tried to introduce a whole new positive and aggressive brand of cricket, but that needs time,” Gibson said.

Gibson, who confirmed he wants to continue as coach after his contract expires in September, said Cricket South Africa always gave him a lot of support but he did blame the South African economy and CSA’s stated deficit of R650 million for players not being fresh for the World Cup.

“Questions about the court action between the players’ association and CSA are not for me to answer, I just work with the players and try and get the most out of their talent. That’s a matter for CSA to deal with, it’s between them and the players. But I feel like CSA have given me a lot of support, things did not go well and I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus.

“It would have been wonderful if the players could have been withdrawn earlier out of the IPL, perhaps things would have gone differently, but a team like Australia is not trying to save R650 million. Of course I want to continue though, I love my job and we have started planning for the India tour in September already. In the last two years we have done some good things too,” Gibson said.

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