Durham’s overseas Twenty20 star, Herschelle Gibbs, is ready for the challenge of helping the county to success in the shortest form of the game, writes Gary Foster.
The South African is confident he can bring something to the party as Geoff Cook’s side look to make an impact on the T20 competition.
That word “confident” is a key part of Gibbs’ mantra, which is probably to be expected of a man who has been there done it, and got the international caps rather than the T-shirt.
Gibbs played 90 Tests, hitting more than 6,000 runs, and he was even more prolific on the T20 international stage – scoring 400 runs in 23 matches.
A gun for hire, Gibbs now travels the world as a T20 specialist, and he believes he can help give Durham a lift.
Cook’s men are bottom of the table in Division One of the County Championship, yet to win a four-day game this season.
But Gibbs is “confident” – there’s that word again – that success in the shortest format of the game could be just the tonic they need.
“As far as Durham is concerned, they probably would just like to maybe just put some of the emotion behind them as far as the season so far is concerned,” he said.
“This is a fresh competition. There is a lot of emotion that actually goes into T20, and I’ve always believed it’s very much a confidence format.
“It’s important to get the confidence up early doors. There’s a lot of talk about momentum, but momentum only comes from confidence, and if we can get that up early we should be all right, so hopefully we can do that.”
Gibbs realises that much will be expected of him as the overseas star, and that with his reputation as an explosive opening batsman will mean people are looking to him to deliver some fireworks with the bat.
But he insists he is not feeling the pressure ahead of Durham’s opening T20 clash away to his old side Yorkshire at Headingley on Friday (7.10pm start), which is followed by the first home game against Notts Outlaws at the Emirates ICG on Sunday (2.30pm).
“Wherever you go in the world you always want to live up to whatever record and reputation you have,” added Gibbs.
“I know what I have to do to fulfil my role.
“There is always going to be pressure irrespective of who you play for, who you are and whatever format you play in.
“I have never really seen that as a problem. I always really enjoyed that.
“Just to go out there to play my natural game in the instinctive sort of way that I’ve always played – that’s always going to be my approach.”
Straight after the group stages, Gibbs will fly out to Sri Lanka for yet another T20 competition, but he is hoping his stint at Durham is no hit and run visit.
He said: “I have been quite lucky with the teams that I have played in that we have gone quite deep in the competitions.
“Hopefully, I can be an influence and get us to at least the quarter-finals, because once you get to that stage anything is possible.
“To make the quarter-finals is probably the main priority at this stage, and then we will have a good crack again from then if we get there.”
Gibbs’ stint in Sri Lanka comes between the quarter-final stages and finals day, meaning the South African would be able to return should Durham get there.
The South African was expected to be involved in a Durham seconds T20 clash with Lancashire at South Northumberland’s Gosforth ground today.
It is hoped the game will help Gibbs get up to speed ahead of Friday’s opener, as the Dynamos look to get off to a flier.