Now we have to admit that we don’t pay the closest attention to South African fortunes when they’re not playing England. Their Tests always seem to clash with crucial fixtures for Bangladesh A. Nevertheless, we were a little bit surprised when Herschelle Gibbs was dropped today.
Pretty much the last time we saw Gibbs in a Test, he was walloping 161 and then 98 in Jo’burg when Matthew Hoggard took 7-61 to give England one of those away wins you used to read about back in the day. Not a bad Test for Gibbs personally, at least.
After that match, Herschelle Gibbs’ Test record read 63 Tests, 14 hundreds, 18 fifties and an average of 48.88. Whatever the worries about other South African batting places, at least this one was inked in.
Since then Gibbs has played 26 Tests and in that period he’s hit no hundreds, eight fifties and averaged 25.69. Crack open the Tipp-Ex.
He’s nearly 34 now, which surprised us. We thought he was a bit younger, despite having been around for so long. If he were Australian he’d be just getting going, but after 89 Tests, this is a quite distinct downturn. We know a downturn when we see one. We’re not unfamiliar with the sloping graph of deterioration.