x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Proteas' turn for off-field woes

While the sun is now peeking through the leaden clouds of Pakistani cricket again, South Africa’s hitherto relentless progress has started to veer off the straight.

DUBAI // What a difference 16 overs of Abdul Razzaq makes. While the sun is now peeking through the leaden clouds of Pakistani cricket again, South Africa’s hitherto relentless progress has started to veer off the straight.

After the late night implosion on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, when they slipped to defeat from an apparently impregnable position, the Proteas have also had to deal with the unwelcome distraction of Herschelle Gibbs’ controversial book launch back at home.

Gibbs, who still has designs on a return to the national team, has upset his erstwhile colleagues with an account of his days with the side which is reportedly laced with stories of debauchery.

“It is difficult for me to know if the papers have sensationalised his book or not, but at the moment we are obviously very disappointed in what has been said,” Smith said of his former opening partner.

To add to the captain’s worries, his injured hand continues to trouble him. Smith was forced to sit out Sunday night’s game because of a blow to the same knuckle that he has broken twice in the past 18 months.

He is so annoyed by the latest disruption that he has asked his kit-suppliers, Gunn and Moore, to provide him with a different model of batting gloves.

“It has been a very frustrating period for me, and something I need to look at equipment-wise because it is the same knuckle which is playing up again and again,” he said.

pradley@thenational.ae