Herschelle Gibbs: Athlete first, player next

Herschelle Gibbs, at the Golden Goose Ultimate Sports coaching cricket camp here on Tuesday, cited Virat Kohli to stress on the necessity to be athletic in modern-day cricket.

Herschelle Gibbs interacts with young cricketers at the Golden Goose Ultimate Sports coaching cricket camp in Chennai.

Herschelle Gibbs, at the Golden Goose Ultimate Sports coaching cricket camp here on Tuesday, cited Virat Kohli to stress on the necessity to be athletic in modern-day cricket. “The sport has evolved so much from my time that one needs to be an athlete first to excel in cricket. Look at Virat Kohli, for instance. He’s supremely fit,” he said.

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Davy Jacobs, one of the head coaches for the programme, added: “Look at how he bats nowadays; the hundred the other day (against Gujarat Lions). He looks like he’ll never get tired while batting.”

Gibbs attributed South Africa’s athleticism on field to its sporting culture.

“We in South Africa start playing at a very young age and indulge in different sports; not just cricket. That’s why I think we were able to become very fit, sustain it, and perform well. The mindset here in India needs to change. The focus should be on making a child an athlete first. They need to be allowed to play different sports, put through the necessary physical drills, so that they develop a good physique by the time they are 10 or 11-years old.”

In the context of the impact of the flashy brand of cricket, the T20s, among the younger generation which is also aware of the money and attention that comes with it, Gibbs said it was imperative to impart the importance of Test cricket.

Importance of Test cricket

“That’s one thing I spoke to them (the participants) in the first session. IPL is entertainment. If one wants to be a complete cricketer, he needs to play the longest format. For someone like David Warner to realise and acknowledge it in public is commendable. On the other hand, look at someone like David Miller. His career has got stagnated over the past two or three years since he doesn’t play first-class cricket.”

He said there’s dynamic batting on offer these days from batsmen of different approach and styles.

“There’s a whole lot of skill on offer these days. Like, Chris Gayle is powerful; de Villiers and Maxwell improvise better. Kohli handles the big, pressure situations better.”

“In that aspect, he (Kohli) has an edge over de Villiers,” he says when asked to pick the better player.

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