Gibbs in silly stew

SORRY, but the Gibbs two-match ban is nonsense and exposes the ICC anti-racism campaign to ridicule.

On Sunday just before lunch on the fourth day Herschelle Gibbs made a comment to his team-mates about a small group of rowdy Pakistan supporters targeting South Africa ’s left-arm spinner Paul Harris for abuse during the Test match at Centurion, near Pretoria. Two spectators were later ejected from the ground.

Gibbs was heard on the stump mike to say: “They’re like a bunch of bloody animals.” This sparked complaints by the Pakistan management and television viewers. Chris Broad, the ICC match referee, said the comments were abusive, whatever the provocation, but the Englishman also deemed the words to be racist. Gibbs was suspended for the rest of the series.

Yobbos and ‘animals’ go together like custard and treacle tart, effortlessly crossing the racial divide. By bad luck Gibbs was heard to make an abusive comment, but there was nothing remotely racist about it, as the extreme elements of the Barmy Army would probably agree. Yet Kamran Abbasi, a respected journalist for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, wondered if Broad should have been more severe, and he stirred up a silly stew. He condemned the Pakistan supporters, but added: “Chris Broad’s decision to ban Gibbs is correct; whether or not the ban is sufficient is another matter. South Africa , too, can have no complaints, particularly since Graeme Smith managed to have Shoaib Akhtar banned for swearing at him during his team’s last tour of Pakistan .”

Typical Pakistani (racial stereotype) — weaving two unrelated threads into one to fog the issue. He criticised with justification the South African sledging – especially the bonkers (my word) antics of Andre Nel — but nothing was racist and Shoaib Akhtar’s public reaction against Smith was not racist. Gibbs was not talking to anyone but his team-mates. He deserved a thorough dressing-down by Broad and nothing more.

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