Gibbs desperate to play in Champions Trophy

Published: Monday, June 5, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Hoping that the ICC's intervention would pave the way for his participation in the Champions Trophy in India, South African opener Herschelle Gibbs has made it clear that he does not want to be questioned on the match-fixing scandal as he had nothing to add to his earlier statement on the issue.

''In terms of the Champions Trophy, whether or not I play is now in the hands of the ICC, which I think is a bit more promising.

Hopefully they can iron everything out so things go smoothly out there for me. I should know the outcome in the next month, hopefully sooner than later,'' Gibbs wrote in his column for a website.

Gibbs said he wants the issue to be settled once and for all and reiterated that he had nothing to hide on the matter and was not prepared to be questioned again.

''I have no reason to think it won't turn out well for me. I have nothing to hide. I came through with all the information asked of me at the time and I would rather not have this dragging on any more,'' he said.

Frustrated that the scandal and the ensuing investigations have prevented him from touring India, Gibbs said he was desperate to play in the Champions Trophy and return to the country after a long gap.

''The whole episode has been very frustrating because every time an India tour has come up I have had to sit out. It's a great country to play cricket in and I am really looking forward to getting back to India and playing out there.

''Its a big tournament for us in our preparations for the World Cup and I want to be there,'' Gibbs added.

Gibbs -- along with the then Proteas captain Hansie Cronje and spinner Nicky Boje -- was accused of match-fixing after Delhi Police recovered tapes, which had them conversing with local punters during their tour of India in 2000.

While Cronje was banned for life and died in a plane crash while serving it, Gibbs and Boje got away with year-long bans. The duo has consistently avoided touring India since then fearing arrest after the police refused to give an assurance on the matter.

Last month ICC General Manager Dave Richardson said the governing body was ready to facilitate their return to the country, if requested, for the Champions Trophy but could not assure a positive result.

''We can only facilitate the process,'' Mr Richardson told reporters here.

''It is principally a problem of two individual players and they are obviously taking legal advice. But if we receive a request from the South African cricket board, we are willing to facilitate it,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Gibbs, who will start his fitness training today after sitting out of the Test series against New Zealand, said he was low on confidence after going through a lean patch recently but would come back strongly in the series against Sri Lanka. The dashing right-hander said he wanted to cross 1000 runs in this calender year.

''I was a bit low in confidence, and the wickets we were playing on were not great for batting so I was struggling. We had a couple of extra batters in the squad and I said maybe it would be a good idea if I sat out for a match or two,'' he said.

''I have set myself new goals and hopefully by the time I get back into my cricket it will be all systems go,'' he added.

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