Seniors must step up, says Proteas coach
That’s what the Proteas have done over the past two days.
Having previously stayed in the build-up to the India clash at the Hilton Hotel located inside the Hampshire Bowl, they packed their bags and made their way across town to the city centre.
Once there, some went off to recharge the batteries on the golf course, while others let off their frustrations on the go-kart track.
Either way, as a group they have managed to block out all the outside noise, to return refreshed and ready to take on the West Indies in a do-or-die encounter here tomorrow.
“We have accepted, to ourselves anyway, that we let ourselves down with the way that we’ve played. We’ve had honest conversations,” Gibson said.
But how is “Operation Turnaround” actually going to be put into effect?
“I think if you look at it, and I’ve said this to the players also, when you look at World Cups and teams that win World Cups, the best players or the seniors are the ones that carry the team, and the youngsters, obviously they fill in and they do their job, as well.
“And so far the seniors haven’t really taken as much of a leadership role as I would expect, as we’re going to need,” Gibson said.
“So we’ve had that conversation around our best players performing. We’ve had a couple of fifties, but we’ve not had any really big significant hundreds. We’ve got batsmen that are used to scoring hundreds.
“It’s important that the batters take a lot more responsibility than they’ve shown already.”
It won’t be a straight-forward task though.
Gibson’s former team have enjoyed an upward surge since being forced to come through the qualifiers in Zimbabwe for this World Cup.
They boast some of the most destructive white-ball batsmen in the game, led by the irrepressible Chris Gayle, and a quartet of fast bowlers that will certainly hurry up this out-of-form Proteas batting line-up.
“They had to qualify, which I know would have hurt them, and they went to the qualifiers and they got into the World Cup, and it’s great from a cricket point of view that they got into the World Cup, and they’re always dangerous when they come to World Cups,” Gibson said.
“Chris is playing very well at the moment.
“They’ve decided it seems that they’re going to go with an all-out attack with the way they’ve set the team up with four and five fast bowlers and stuff like that.
“West Indies teams have always been dangerous, and this one is no different.
“There are a lot of players there that can win matches. They’ve always had match winners, and I know that it’s going to be a tough game,” the former West Indies international bowler said yesterday.
Gibson confirmed that middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen had recovered from his groin concern that forced him off the field against India in their last outing, although bowler Lungi Ngidi’s return from a hamstring strain “would be a bit of a risk”.