|Player:||HH Gibbs, R Benaud, GC Smith, BC Broad|
DateLine: 1st February 2007
Herschelle Gibbs said Thursday he was disappointed that his appeal against a Test match ban failed but he was glad that he had been cleared of racism. The South African batsman will miss the third Test against Pakistan starting at Newlands Friday as well as a Twenty20 international and the first of five one-day internationals against the same opponents next month. Gibbs was originally banned for two Tests but in terms of the ICC code, the punishment was amended to take account of the next matches the player was due to appear in. Despite the ban, Gibbs was delighted that ICC appeals commissioner Richie Benaud had concluded that he was not a racist. Gibbs said in a statement: "I am really disappointed to be missing the Test match in front of my home ground and the next two matches the Proteas will be playing. "However, I am glad that I have now had a proper opportunity to explain myself. I feel it is important that Mr Benaud has confirmed that I am not racist. I have apologised if my remarks inadvertently caused offence, and that apology still stands." Cricket South Africa has dropped its own disciplinary action against Gibbs following remarks made by the player about a section of the crowd which were picked up and broadcast by a stump microphone during the first Test against Pakistan in Centurion earlier this month. Gerald Majola, CSA chief executive, said the national body accepted Benaud's findings. "We particularly welcome the fact that Mr Benaud has emphatically cleared Herschelle of any allegations of racism," said Majola. "The CSA's disciplinary hearing was set before the ICC announced its charges. Consequently, CSA's hearing was postponed by disciplinary commissioner Judge Mervyn King until after the ICC had completed its hearings arising from the same circumstances. Now that the ICC has completed its process, we have decided that there is no point in charging Herschelle twice in this matter." South African captain Graeme Smith earlier criticised the ICC after the appeal was rejected. He said at his captain's pre-match press conference: "It is disappointing. We have one or two gripes with the ICC and maybe this is not the forum to discuss it. Maybe we need to get on the phone with (cricket general manager) Dave Richardson and (chief executive) Malcolm Speed and discuss these things. We are disappointed at losing Herschelle. We just want to see consistency in decision making around the world. We've experienced things that haven't been dealt with." Smith was believed to be referring to incidents that involved the South African team in Australia last season in which it was alleged racist remarks had been made against the South African players. In the ICC statement, Benaud said: "At Chris Broad's hearing (Pakistan team manager) Talat Ali spoke about the offence the words used by Herschelle would give to the whole Pakistan nation. I am not surprised. However, as an Appeals Commissioner and a person, I certainly do not consider Herschelle to be a racist and I take great exception to the suggestion, in the same way I believe Chris Broad would object (to suggestions his finding would do the same)." While Smith was critical of the ICC, he appeared to have softened his stance on stump microphones after saying at Centurion that he believed television companies were to blame for leaving the microphones on instead of switching them off immediately after a ball had been bowled.
"Stump mikes are there," said Smith. "They're part and parcel of the game. You can't even talk at third man now. There's a part of me that would like them to be turned down but there's a part of me that realises cricket is a sport that's got to compete with other sports around the world. I'm sure there are people around the world who want to hear what's going on." Gibbs' remarks were in reaction to abusive spectators. According to Majola and newspaper reports the words allegedly used by Gibbs included "these f… Pakistani animals", a reference to "f… baboons" and a suggestion that the spectators should "f… off back to Pakistan".