Qantas Tour of South Africa

Umpires must take control: Proteas coach

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson explains why Proteas appealed Quinton de Kock's charge and has a message for the umpires

Cricket Network

08 March 2018, 01:01 PM

Warner cops ICC punishment

Former West Indies pace bowler, now South Africa coach, Ottis Gibson has questioned the need for teams to engage in verbal taunting in order to play aggressive cricket and called for on-field umpires to take a more active role in policing players' comments.

Gibson, who played with and against such feared Caribbean quicks as Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop, said his former teammates showed aggression through their physical presence and the threat they posed with ball in hand.

The 48-year-old, who took over the Proteas coaching job from Russell Domingo last year, told a media conference in Port Elizabeth that his definition of 'aggression' was a fast bowler charging in at a rival batter without the need for an accompanying vocal chorus.

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"I'm happy with aggression being shown on the field, if it's coming from a bowler," Gibson said.

"When everybody else is chirping and sledging while a batter is trying to bat, I'm not sure that's aggression in my view.

"If a fast bowler is bowling bouncers and trying to intimidate a batsman then that's aggression, that's how I grew up playing the game in the Caribbean.

"They (former West Indies quicks) didn't have to (sledge) because they were aggressive with the ball and with their body language. That's what aggression is.

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"When a batsman is trying to take his guard and people are standing around shouting and saying whatever that want to say, I'm not sure that's necessary."

Gibson's comments came after Australia vice-captain David Warner accepted his Level 2 sanction for bringing the game into disrepute through his role in an off-field altercation during the first Test at Durban earlier this week, an offence that cost him 75 per cent of his match fee and three demerit points.

But the South Africa coach spoke before Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock failed in his bid to be cleared of the charge levelled at him from the same incident.

The Proteas had contested de Kock's Level 1 charge, with Gibson saying: "We’re appealing the Level 1 because we think that Quinny didn’t do anything, Quinny wasn’t aggressive.

"The footage showed Quinny walking up the stairs and somebody else being restrained and then Quinny gets a Level 1. That didn’t seem fair."

ICC Match Referee Jeff Crowe disagreed with that assessment and upheld the charge, and the wicketkeeper was fined 25 per cent of his match fee and docked one demerit point after a disciplinary hearing in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

Both players are now clear to take part in the second Test of the Qantas Tour of South Africa that begins at St George's Park tomorrow.

Gibson, however, was unable to deny de Kock had commented on Warner's wife, a sledge the Australian claimed was "vile and disgusting". 

"I can't, I wasn't there," Gibson said. "I can't speak for another person. So I don't know what was said.

"There's this thing, and I've seen it recently now about the 'line'. They're saying they didn't cross the line, but where is the line? Who sets the line? Where does the line come from?

"So when you say you didn’t cross the line, you were saying stuff but ‘Oh no, we didn’t cross the line - we went very close to the line but we didn’t cross the line’.

"Whose line is it?"

CCTV shows Warner-de Kock incident

Gibson has called upon the officiating umpires to take a stronger stance to clamp down on verbal exchanges between players on the field, after both teams acknowledged that the off-field clash – sparked by some preceding pointed exchanges on the field – was unacceptable.

Gibson, who played two Tests and 15 ODIs between 1995 and 1999, said it was the job of the match officials to decide what constituted acceptable levels of on-field chat and it was not up to the discretion of one or other teams in the contest to rule on whether a "line" had been crossed.

The moment de Kock's words triggered Warner's 'emotional response'
The moment de Kock's words triggered Warner's 'emotional response' // CCTV

"The match officials and the ICC govern the game and they – the umpires on the field – must take charge," Gibson said.

"If things are happening in the game and things are being said, surely if it's within earshot … maybe the umpires need to actually stand up and get control of the game.

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"If they hear things on the field they should clamp down on it. It becomes unfortunate when everybody else on the field hears stuff and the match officials say they don’t hear anything. But they’re there to do a job and they must do their job.

"Don't leave it to 'Oh we didn't cross the line', because who sets the line?

"Can you say whatever you can and then when something is said back to you then it's offensive?

"You didn't tell us where the line was, so let's be clear where the line is."

Qantas tour of South Africa

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights

First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13. Live coverage

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage