DURBAN - When you speak to Ottis Gibson about cricket, it is quickly apparent that the Proteas coach is fully embedded in his latest international gig.
He is familiar with the nuances of cricket in South Africa, and is just as at home on the international scene. That is not in doubt. His excitement about the challenge that awaits him and his team over the next 18 months has been declared, and Gibson and his skipper are very clear about where they want to go.
But, when you talk to him about fast bowling, the former West Indian speedster becomes a different man altogether.
“I love fast bowling! That’s what I used to do, and we’ve got a fantastic bunch in the team,” he enthused at the Wanderers.
During the fourth and final day of the third Test between SA and India on Saturday, Gibson was caught on the big screen, in an animated discussion with his fury of fast men. Kagiso Rabada was next to him but, as he explained, the discussion also involved the rest of the pack.
“You learn a lot in the game by sitting in the change-room, talking. I love talking about fast bowling, and a guy like KG is like a sponge right now,” he said. “He is a perfectionist, and he wants to get it right.
"So I’ve been explaining that fast bowling is about what happens on the day. Sometimes you want to bowl the outswinger, but only the inswinger is coming out. You’ve got to accept that and work with it.”
Gibson was also excited about adding Lungi Ngidi to the mix, after the young Titan made an immediate impression after replacing Dale Steyn in the second Test.
The reason im always smiling.....the less you have the less you have to worry about.....oh and i love cricket 😂❤😋
On the veteran Steyn, it is very clear that Gibson still greatly values his presence on and off the field.
“When he got on the park in Cape Town, we saw what he did,” Gibson said.
Steyn has been written off, due to his continued spate of injuries in the last three years.
But, the man whose opinion matters more than most is in no doubt about the enduring class of his swing merchant.
“It was a freak injury,” Gibson sympathised.
Gibson is excited to lock horns with Australia, but the one-day international series with India comes first.
“We would love to play more one-day cricket. We don’t play as much as India play, but we are looking forward to a good series,” Gibson said.
With that, he leapt up with the agility of his young fast bowlers, and dashed off to celebrate a series win with his team.