Town – On Tuesday, Ottis
Gibson gave a press conference where a sizeable group of
Cape Town media gathered to quiz the Proteas coach on all things Cricket World
Gibson gave fitness updates on
Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, spoke about Hashim Amla’s quest for form, opened
up on the complexities of team selection and gave insight into his squad’s
preparations on and off the field for what is their latest charge at bringing
home a World Cup title for the first time.
And then, 18 minutes into the
press briefing, it happened.
“Have you spoken about 1999
and the run out and people maybe bringing that up again once you get over
there?” a journalist probed.
“You mean the thing that you
just brought up now?” Gibson offered in return, met by nervous
“We haven’t spoken about
It was all light-hearted and
innocent, but the hard truth is that this Proteas side remains haunted by that
Lance Klusener/Allan Donald catastrophe no less than 20 years after it
Rest assured, Gibson will be
asked about that incident and others countless more times between now and the
end of the World Cup.
“We’ve had discussions
around everything, and we’ve decided that we aren’t going to speak about it …
so when you ask about it then it is going to be a no comment,” the coach
“The decision is that we’re
not going to talk about that.
“There are seven or eight
youngsters there that have never been in that situation before, so why ask them
questions about that?”
The ‘C-word’ is off limits.
Instead, this South African group
is approaching the World Cup with a sense of freedom and little
Their first match, after all, is
a clash against the hosts and tournament favourites England at The Oval on May
“We’re looking forward to
that game,” Gibson said.
“For us to play the No 1
team in the world and the tournament favourites in their own country is great
for us. It gives us a feeling of where we are as a team and we’ve got nothing
to lose, really.
“We’re not the favourites
anymore. Normally we’ve gone as the favourites and that hasn’t worked out for
us, so we’re happy to be trying to fly a little bit under the radar and try and
produce our best on the pitch.”