HAPPY-go-lucky Herschelle Gibbs is aiming to put smiles back on faces at Durham.
The South African ace, who has joined Geoff Cook’s side for their Twenty20 campaign, is almost as well known for his buoyant off-field persona as he is on it for his explosive batting.
Gibbs tees of his Durham career against Yorkshire at Headingley tomorrow night (5.40pm start), and insists he will look to give the fans something to cheer about.
He said: “Ultimately T20 is the format that should bring the most entertainment. It has always been that for me, and I hope to be a real influence on the team.
“Hopefully we can hit our straps early on and get some momentum going.
“The T20 format is one where your temperament is always tested and your skill, and it’s important to play the situation.
“But I want to have a crack at most things. You can get caught up in the moment irrespective of how long you have been playing this game, and you have got to be able to back yourself 10 times out of 10.”
Gibbs joined up with his new team-mates earlier this week, and believes his well publicised social skills should help him settle in quickly.
“I have always enjoyed my public relations,” he laughed. “I have always believed I’m sort of like a Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“It’s all about making the most of the experience wherever I go, and that sort of approach is never going to change.
“If you’ve got a bit of a sense of humour and a personality it makes the job a little bit more easier.
“It’s easier to gel with people and get along with people from different cultures. Ultimately if you are a little bit in your box it’s difficult to make that first step.”
Having previously experienced the English game during a spell with tomorrow night’s opponents, the South African has some idea of what to expect from the dressing room and admits he’s looking forward to it.
He added: “I have always enjoyed coming to the UK and playing cricket.
“There’s something different that it has and not too many other countries have got it. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is, but there is a different sort of banter which always makes for interesting and humorous experiences so I look forward to that.”
Despite looking forward to putting his social skills to good use Gibbs relaises there is a job to do on the field, and he feels Durham’s approach could well depend on the weather.
“You have to get you mindset right and play the game depending on the situation,” he said.
“In the first six overs you should get an idea of what total you are capable of getting. It’s about weighing that up and taking things from there.
“Obivously getting off to a good start is a big thing and that’s what we will be looking to do.”
The South African was involved as Durham seconds played two T20 clashes with Lancashire at South Northumberland’s Gosforth ground today, where they faced the red rose county’s second string.
Ben Stokes top scored with 58, while Gibbs hit 41 as Durham won the first of the two clashes by 81 runs.
l FORMER South African Under-19 international Johann Myburgh is on trial at Durham.
Myburgh, 31, was released by Hampshire at the end of last season. The off-spinning all-rounder played in yesterday’s two T20 games against Lancashire seconds making 53 and 29 respectively.
Paul Collingwood is out for up to four weeks with a broken hand, Gareth Breese and Ian Blackwell are still to return to action, and skipper Dale Benkenstein is unable to bowl at the moment as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder.
That leaves 22-year-old Scott Borthwick to lead Durham’s spin attack, and with that in mind Myburgh could be seen as a useful addition to the squad.