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Friday, 9 June, 2000, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Gibbs: Golden boy gone bad

Howzat: Gibbs is set for a long stay in the pavilion
Herschelle Gibbs' admission that he agreed to accept money to play badly in a one-day international against India takes the shine off the sparkling career of one of South Africa's most promising batsmen.

But the 26-year-old opener has been at the centre of controversy before, following his notorious - and fateful - dropped catch against Australia in the 1999 World Cup.

Gibbs' Test record
Runs: 1563
100s: 2
50s: 7

He also received a fine for partying into the early hours before a one-day international, and was recently revealed as the father of a three-and-a-half-year-old boy whom he has only seen once.

A precocious talent, Gibbs made his Western Province debut at the tender age of 16 and soon established himself as an attacking stroke player with a good claim to a place in the national side.

He was also a coloured cricketer in a sport dominated by whites, and as such helped fulfil the United Cricket Board's commitment to create a more racially-inclusive team.

By the time he had forced himself into the South African team in November 1996, he had also acquired a flourishing reputation as a fielder with an uncanny gift that would rival the prodigious talent of Jonty Rhodes.

Gibbs' one-day record
Runs: 2061
100s: 5
50s: 9
He claimed his maiden one-day century against the West Indies in January 1999 and finally conquered his natural impetuousness to record his maiden Test ton against New Zealand in March of the same year.

His performances earned him an automatic place in South Africa's World Cup squad.

But it was his blunder - a crucial dropped catch in the Super Six match against Australia - that threw Mark Waugh's side the lifeline that would eventually lead them to the world title.

Gibbs caught Steve Waugh in the middle of what would become his match-winning innings of 120 at Headingley, but then dropped the ball prematurely as he celebrated.

The umpires ruled that he did not have full control of the ball. Australia survived to beat South Africa in the last four and thrash Pakistan in the final.
Herschelle Gibbs
Gibbs faces a UCB hearing on his future

It later emerged that Shane Warne had predicted Gibbs might drop the ball.

Coach Geoff Marsh said after the match: "We don't often talk about what happens in team meetings, but Shane actually said if Herschelle takes a catch, stand your ground, because he doesn't hold them."

"We laughed at him (Warne) in the team meeting, then he came out on the balcony and laughed at us. It was unbelievable - only Warnie could do that."

Nonetheless, he recovered to play an important role in South Africa's Test series and one-day victories over England earlier this year and looked set to enjoy a long tenure at the top of the game.

But in April, Gibbs was charged with match-fixing by Delhi police, along with Cronje, Pieter Strydom, Henry Williams and Nicky Boje.

He was in hot water with the UCB again when he admitted being out at a nightclub until 3am the night before South Africa's second one-day international against Australia in Cape Town on 14 April.

He was fined 5000 rand and banned for three matches. All but a third of the fine was subsequently suspended on condition that Gibbs was not found guilty of a similar offence.

It was a bad month for Gibbs, who was also exposed by London-based expat magazine Southern Cross as having fathered a love child whom he had only seen once.

The child's mother, 21-year-old Liesl Fuller, confirmed that Gibbs was the father, but said that while he had not seen his son, Rashard, he had never failed to keep up his financial obligations.

However, compared to his current situation these last two misdemeanours are trivial.

Gibbs has been dropped from the squad to tour Sri Lanka in July and under new International Cricket Council guidelines could face the maximum penalty of a life ban from the sport.

And he also faces disciplinary measures by the UCB. They could decide that he is already too tainted to ever represent South Africa again.

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See also:

09 Jun 00 | Cricket
Gibbs dropped in disgrace
09 Jun 00 | Cricket
Cronje bribery scandal deepens
07 Jun 00 | Cricket
Cronje inquiry goes public