His name is among the greatest cricketers of the modern era, anywhere he played in the world he earned admirers and fans, he is one of the most loved cricketers in the world, he is a man who has been involved in some of the greatest knocks in cricket history, today I have the pleasure of having with me the living legend Herschelle Gibbs.
Hi Herschelle tell us how did you get into Cricket?
I started playing cricket as a summer sport at school at the age of 6 years.
In the school holidays, I played for an Under-13 club team called Young Cavaliers. I also played for them when not playing for the school.
Often, I opened the batting and the bowling. In those days I also bowled leg breaks.
I never looked back after that as I enjoyed the game and worked hard to develop as a cricketer.
Growing up who was your inspiration?
Originally it was the South African Test cricketer Peter Kirsten who was world-class in his heyday.
However, when I saw West Indies great Viv Richards batting on TV, he then became my idol.
You’ve had a couple of amazing innings in your career. Which knock would you rate as your favourite?
Sorry, I’ll have to break this one up a bit.
The most enjoyable ODI knock was the 175 versus Australia at the Wanderers in Johannesburg in 2006. That was an easy one because later in an official survey by the ICC, the match was voted the greatest ODI match ever played.
The most enjoyable Test innings was 183 in the first innings of the 5th Test against England at The Oval in September 2003. In that innings, 146 runs came via boundaries (35 x 4s, I x 6). The 100 came up after 20 fours and a six.
Not so sure about my favourite T20 knock but let’s say the 90 not out against West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 at Johannesburg, in September 2007. Just after my 50 came up I suffered a hamstring strain and AB De Villiers came out to be my runner. As a result of the injury, I didn’t play in the next match.
Having travelled around the world what destination is your favourite?
That’s a tricky one because I generally make it a point to enjoy wherever I travel to!
For cricket and sheer relaxation, it would have to be the Caribbean.
When chance affords, I’ll be in the sea every day and there’s plenty to do when the players have free evenings.
From a physical point of view, you never feel stiff or lethargic because you are in the water daily!
Trinidad and Barbados are my favourite islands – I have many friends there.
South African cricket is in a bit of a transition. Do you feel changes need to be made to the current setup to restore the team’s former glory?
The biggest concern is the standard of cricket in the domestic four-day competition.
I’m not sure how that will improve but that’s where you breed complete cricketers – players who can excel in more than one format.
If we can see an improvement there, we might get back to where we once were. The domestic game has over time been the bedrock of SA cricket and that’s why there was so much interest then. We used to attract big crowds and the final day’s play was usually exciting.
Given a chance which player past or present would you love to play alongside with?
It will have to be that classic righthand batsman Peter Noel Kirsten or the masterful left-hander Robert Graeme Pollock. Imagine being at the ‘other’ end when these batsmen were in full cry!
You are a living legend and have a huge following in these parts of the world. Do you think cricket fans in North America will get to see you come here?
Well, I hope to be the head coach of one of the teams in Global T20 league so hopefully, that can happen soon. I have seen how SA rugby players have done so much for rugby in North America and I would love to contribute to the development and growth of cricket there. So, I’ll be waiting for the opportunity – and the phone call.
How would you define success?
Every individual has their own definition. It can’t be related because everyone’s journey or story is an individual experience and so different. I’ll give you my final answer when I come to the GT20 League later this year! Howzat?
Sounds good mate looking forward to catching up with you in Canada.