25 June 2019, by: Carl Lewis
PROTEAS COACH OTTIS GIBSON – WHAT NEXT?
It’s actually quite crazy to think that with two group stage matches left for the Proteas, I’m penning a piece on the possible future of head coach Ottis Gibson.
That’s indicative of how jarringly poor South Africa have performed at the ICC World Cup 2019.
It’s pointless doing a deep dive into the World Cup with Gibson’s men playing for nothing other than trying to salvage some pride. So let’s look to the future…
The coaching situation
Ottis Gibson is almost certain to leave his post after the disastrous World Cup campaign. It’s been well publicised that his mandate from Cricket South Africa (CSA) centred around the World Cup and with that as a reference, he has failed dismally.
South Africa quietly strolled into the tournament as the third-ranked nation in ODI cricket. This was because of five consecutive ODI series wins. Sounds very good, doesn’t it?
Those series wins require interrogation. Victory in Sri Lanka a year ago was positive. Then came a win against an out of their depth Zimbabwe, poor travellers Pakistan and a hungover (from Test series) Sri Lanka.
An away 2-1 series win in Australia also added shine to Gibson’s record. It must be noted that it was against an Aussie side reeling after the exclusion of Steve Smith and David Warner after the ball-tampering fiasco.
Losing is part of sport but it is worrying to see teams dont have to be at their best to beat the Proteas. It was something the Proteas prided themselves on.
— Jacques Kallis (@jacqueskallis75) June 24, 2019
Gibson’s tenure had been respectable and there was definitely reasons for optimism heading into 2019. Although dark clouds hovered above the batting unit throughout.
What seemed like an innocent wobble against Sri Lanka, should have been a real cause for concern. Sri Lanka made history, becoming the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa, 2-0 actually, a whitewash.
The lack of intensity from that series has persisted and only compounded at the World Cup. The Proteas have looked timid in comparison to their more daring opposition.
Seven matches played; one win, a no result and five losses is nowhere near acceptable. I didn’t believe the Proteas had what it took to actually win the tournament. However, the lack of competitiveness and grit when faced with testing circumstances is inexcusable.
The team had no absolutely no response when their opposition asked probing questions. Sadly, the ‘Gibson era’ ran out of steam and lacked the necessary bite when it mattered. Serious introspection and a thorough review by CSA is necessary after this World Cup showing.
The Coaching verdict
This is the worst World Cup campaign in South Africa’s short history. Someone must be held accountable. There is definitely a case for CSA’s problems filtering down to the players being an issue. However, this is about Gibson and the coach must take a huge chunk of responsibility.