Sport / Cricket

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
30 Oct 2018
6:36 pm

Proteas don’t want ball-tampering distraction in Oz

Heinz Schenk

Coach Ottis Gibson says the team has moved on from the drama earlier this year and hopes cricket takes centre-stage in the upcoming ODI series.

Ottis Gibson during the South African national cricket team training session and press conference at Boland Park on October 05, 2018 in Paarl, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson hopes his charges won’t be distracted by the revisiting of March’s ball-tampering saga when their three-match ODI series against Australia kicks off on Sunday.

The unsavoury saga, which saw two of the Aussies best batsmen in Steve Smith and David Warner banned for 12 months, is back in the spotlight following a fairly damning report into the country’s cricketing culture over the past few years.

For what it’s worth, South Africa have moved on.

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“What happened called for strong action and, I guess, that’s what the people who made the decision at the time thought was strong enough,” Gibson said on Tuesday.

“We moved on a long time ago. It happened many months ago now. Obviously, it shouldn’t have happened, we all accept that it shouldn’t have happened.”

There have been calls for Smith and Warner’s suspensions to be lifted earlier as the independent review suggested Cricket Australia’s unbalanced focus on winning at all cost might’ve put pressure on leading players to cross the line.

Gibson was reluctant to get into that debate.

“We’re six months down the road, and everybody has had a bit of time to step back and see what’s going on, and obviously, some people think that it has been too harsh.

“But was that their same opinion six months ago when it all unfolded? Hindsight gives us the opportunity to step back and look at things, but what happened shouldn’t have happened, and therefore, it called for an action and that’s the action that was taken. It’s up to those people to decide whether it’s too harsh.”

Instead, the Proteas really need the short series to fine-tune a few combinations, an exercise vital in preparing effectively for next year’s World Cup.

“It’s disappointing when cricket gets lost among all the other stuff, because at the end of the day that’s why we’re all here: to play some cricket,” said Gibson.

South Africa play a warm-up match against a Prime Minister’s XI in Perth on Wednesday morning (SA time).

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