Gibbs book flies off the shelves
Herschelle Gibbs's sensational tell-all book looks set to eclipse the memoirs of other local sporting heroes and is headed for the UK - despite fierce condemnation by cricketers and a stunned reaction overseas.
On Friday, Gibbs told the Sunday Times he was disappointed by the local and international media's focus on his wild romps with women on tour, rather than "pretty interesting" revelations in To the Point about his marriage, his time in alcohol rehab and his biggest games.
The book reveals orgies with team members in hotel rooms involving up to three women, group drug-taking on tour and the claim that captain Graeme Smith snuffed out team spirit with authoritarian power.
Gibbs said he had "no regrets" about his explosive claims, adding: "The public response has also been fantastic. I've gotten massive support on Twitter and website comments. Of course, some folks have had a go at me. Good for them."
He had received "private" messages of support from some high-profile people, but - in reference to stinging criticism by cricket personalities like Daryll Cullinan, Kepler Wessels and Smith - he said: "After what's happened this week, I reckon it's better to let my fellow players speak for themselves if they choose."
- The first print run of 15000 copies of Gibbs's book sold out in two days, according to publisher Marlene Fryer, and will be published in the UK in the new year. "All indications from the booksellers are that it's flying," she said;
- Saying he was "disappointed" by the allegations, Smith reportedly sent a two-word text message to Gibbs, asking simply, "Too powerful?" Wessels predicted that Gibbs had killed his international career;
- In a story headlined "Group sex and lots of dope", Australia's Herald Sun said the book had "rocked the cricket world", having given the impression that "the team spent almost as much time having sex and smoking marijuana as playing cricket";
- Cricket South Africa ordered their lawyers to examine the book for contractual or legal breaches;
- In a storm of online debate, fans described Gibbs variously as "a disgrace", "the people's cricketer", "a braying donkey" and "a lone voice of honesty"; and
- Responding to allegations that he had "spilt the beans" on Gibbs and others smoking marijuana on tour, Cullinan said the claims were "highly irresponsible and defamatory". He also alleged that team manager Goolam Rajah "had to deal with Gibbs's distressed girlfriend due to his behaviour".
Yesterday, Irshaan Issufo, shift manager at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, said: "After totally selling out, we got 40 books in this morning - five hours later, we've got five left."
- Meanwhile, former Proteas coach Mickey Arthur has slammed Makhaya Ntini for playing the race card when he was dropped from the team in 2008/9. In his own new memoir, Taking the Mickey, Arthur says Ntini lost his place owing to "poor form", adding: "I was desperately disappointed when Makhaya started telling influential administrators that Graeme Smith and I didn't want black players in the team."