FREE delivery to your door on all orders over R Please note that this excludes all international deliveries. There's something about Herschelle Gibbs - a certain quality that has endeared him to cricket fans in South Africa and around the world. Despite the frustrating on-field inconsistencies of this towering talent, and the messy and very public personal troubles that have tracked him through the years, Herschelle remains one of South African cricket's best-loved sons.

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The face of Herschelle Gibbs, the man who infamously claimed he had never read a book, gleams unsettlingly from the cover of the one that bears his name. His bristly lips slither around his teeth, which are gnashed into a foreboding grin. Iridescent white haloes trace spooky circles around the pupils of his eyes.

The hard edge of his shaven head lurks fuzzy, out there somewhere. If this man banged on your door at some dark hour, you would give him whatever he wanted and plead with him not to hurt you.

Books shouldn't be judged by their covers, but it seems safe to do so in this case. For too long, people have given Gibbs too much of what he's wanted: too much to drink, too much sex, too many nudges and winks, too many chances, too many long hops.

In return he has given them too much of his dark side and not enough by which to remember him well. For years he would cut sixes over point as casually as if he were twisting the cap off a bottle of beer. But just as easily he would blip catches softly, softly into the hands of mid-off. We giggle at his ongoing - unwitting? He has won matches that looked lost. He has taken money to be dismissed for less than It is the voice of a man who is on his way to being a geriatric delinquent.

Those who count themselves among cricket's more genteel aficionados should start their interaction with this book on page The preceding six chapters will shatter their image of the game they think they know. Then again, perhaps they shouldn't skip those pages: they need educating. Chapter three - "The good times" - is a litany of vice. Alcohol is abused so wantonly that readers might feel sorry for the demon drink itself.

Women are nothing more than conquests awaiting conquest. Chapter six, entitled "The controversies", ends thus: "Right.

I think that's enough skandaal scandal for one book. Coming up next is a highlights reel that has more to do with bat and ball than having a ball But there is value amid the muck. Gibbs' redemption may yet come from being unafraid to lay bare the car crash of his life for the rest of us to rubberneck at. Young cricketers, particularly those who achieve beyond their years, sometimes grow into adults trapped in a web of adolescence.

However much excess might befall them and however much success they might achieve, their worlds are somehow small and sad. Gibbs made his first-class debut at 16, and in some ways he isn't a moment older. He doesn't seem to have learnt much from the tribulations that have befallen him over the years. He describes Hansie Cronje, who in a few grubby deals that we know of destroyed his reputation forever, as "a man I will always admire" and "the best captain I ever played under".

Even after spending time in rehab, Gibbs writes that he "didn't, and still don't, believe that I am an alcoholic". He doesn't regret "calling those particular Pakistani fans a bunch of animals" at Centurion in Also disturbing is the impression Gibbs gives that nothing he has experienced - neither match-fixing, sexual debauchery, alcoholism, nor that particular flavour of racism in which people are equated with animals - need be taken seriously.

But the honesty with which he tackles some of South African cricket's biggest issues is to be applauded. He dumps the Proteas' propensity to choke at the door of a conservative, tentative approach. He decides that the South African team is indeed divided by a clique of senior players. There is nothing to be read here that the cricket press hasn't covered before, but to have it confirmed from within is a refreshing change from the overly defensive pose players usually strike in the face of criticism.

It is doubtful whether Gibbs knows anything about subtlety, including how to spell it. But he does know how to be exciting, and he loves to entertain. On that score, then, To the Point is undiluted, uncut per cent proof Herschelle. It should come with all sorts of warnings, including: reading this book could impair your ability to be drowsy for nights on end. Home Writers The Cricket Monthly. Nov 20, Close Telford Vice, crash-boom-out left-hand bat, sort-of legspinner, was never sure whether he was a cricket person.

He thought he might be when he sidestepped a broken laptop and an utter dearth of experience to cover South Africa's first Test match in 22 years in Barbados in When he managed to complete Peter Kirsten's biography as well as retain what he calls his sanity, he pondered the question again. Similarly, when he made it through the World Cup - all of it, including the warm-up matches - his case for belonging to cricket's family felt stronger.

But it was only when the World Twenty20 exploded gloriously into his life in that he knew he actually wanted to be a cricket person. Sort of


Herschelle Gibbs off the mark in "To The Point"

And least of all we like our sportsmen to remain out of the public scrutiny as much as possible. A sportsman who represents his country and the spirit of sport must consider these roles when he takes a crucial decision such as writing a book. Herschelle Gibbs is not the first sportsman to stir public debate with his outspoken views. Andre Agassi was the last man i can remember who turned the world upside-down with his own book of revelation. Herschelle Gibbs has not only stirred a storm in South Africa but all over the world by a crude detailing of politics withing the team and the general life of a sportsman. What has grabbed the most headlines are the excerpts that give us insights into the sexual adventures of these players.


To The Point: The No Holds Barred Autobiography

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