Smith hurt by book, but says Gibbs still welcome to team

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DUABI - South African cricket captain Graeme Smith Tuesday said that he is hurt by the some of the claims Herschelle Gibbs has made in his controversial book but the right-hand batsman is still welcome in the national side if he is wiling to sort things out with the team members.

In his book ‘To the Point’, Gibbs reveals how he and his team-mates indulged in sex orgies, regular alcohol abuse and drug use on many cricket tours. He also writes of Smith being too powerful in the team, and says his leadership caused division in the team.

“I have not read the book yet but I have to confess that the rest of the team and I are hurt by some of the things he says,” Smith was quoted as saying by website Sport24.

“It is outrageous to allege that there is a culture of debauchery, because we would definitely not have been able to achieve so much success recently if we got falling down drunk every couple of nights and partied in our hotel rooms with strange women until the early hours of the morning.”

On the senior players like Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and AB de Villiers being too powerful in the team, Smith said, “In every team there is usually a group of senior players who take the lead, just like in a successful business.”

“If Herschelle ever felt left out, it is a sign of his own insecurity. Someone like AB is far more junior than him and should never have been a threat to him.”

Smith said the team carried Gibbs “through the most difficult times of his life” and he did not see the allegations coming.

“We were (the only people) he could count on for support during his messy divorce and his fight against alcohol abuse, and that is why we do not understand why he has turned against us like this now.”

“I have already sent him an SMS to find out why he did this. According to him, the media has blown it (out of proportion) and he would still like to stay friends,” said Smith.

But despite Gibbs making the sensational claims against his own team members, the captain said he is welcome to the side.

“Like every other player, he is still welcome in the team as long as his performances justify it and if he is willing to have an open discussion with every guy he discusses in the book.”

“The team and the game are more important than any player - and that includes myself,” he said.

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