Arthur backs Gibbs
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has insisted that Herschelle Gibbs will be back sooner rather than later.
Last Updated: 03/01/08 9:08am
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has insisted that, despite a lack of form which has seen Herschelle Gibbs dropped for the second Test against the West Indies, the batsman will be back sooner rather than later.
The 33-year-old recorded two ducks in the Proteas' shock defeat in last week's first Test and has been replaced by Neil McKenzie for the second, currently ongoing in Cape Town.
But, citing a lack of confidence as the reason for Gibbs' current malaise, Arthur has stated that, following a break from the international arena, it is his belief that the batsman can return ahead of the upcoming one-day series.
"When you leave out a player of his class - much like with Shaun Pollock - it requires a lot of deliberation," Arthur said.
"It's not a decision you take lightly. I've consulted with him through the week, and we feel it's in Herschelle's best interests to give him a break now.
"Herschelle will stay with us for the Test, and he'll also join up with the Cape Cobras, who he'll work with leading up to their game against the Lions in Potchefstroom next week. He'll play in that game and then rejoin us.
"Herschelle's position is simple. He's just a little short of confidence and we think it's in his interests to pull him out of the fray for a little bit. He'll be back for the one-day series."
McKenzie to open
With South Africa having reduced their opponents to 240 for eight on day one at Newlands, Arthur added that McKenzie will open the batting with Graeme Smith - despite the former being a natural middle-order batsman.
"We did think about moving AB (De Villiers) back up the order and putting Neil in at number six, but I feel that's two changes for one place," said Arthur.
"AB has just settled at number six. He's doing a great job for us there. We messed him around last year after that disastrous first Test against India, when we pushed Hersch down to six and AB went to open and I think we pushed AB's career back slightly.
"He's probably going to bat at number six for most of his career.
"Neil's just bursting a gut to play," he said. "He's happy to play anywhere. He will also play in the Test in Durban."