Ottis Gibson remains the last bowler to take 10 wickets in an innings in the LV= Insurance County Championship, our head coach achieving the special feat whilst playing for Durham against Hampshire at the Riverside in July 2007.
Gibson was a fast bowler of some repute, as indicated by an achievement which has only been matched five times since anywhere in the world in first-class cricket. Former Yorkshire overseas spinner Ajaz Patel was one of those, claiming 10-119 in a Test Match against India at Mumbai in December 2021.
That – 2007 – was a golden summer for Bajan Gibson, who a month later was awarded with the player-of-the-match award as Durham won the Friends Provident Trophy final against Hampshire at Lord’s, him taking 3-24 from eight overs as Durham comfortably defended a target of 313.
Wisden, who honoured him as one of their Wisden Cricketers of the Year to coincide with the publication of their 2008 Almanack, described him as the “single greatest force in county cricket” in 2007. He claimed 80 Championship wickets that year as Durham finished second behind Sussex.
Here is a bowler who grew up idolising the likes of Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner. He went on to play 17 times for the West Indies – two Test Matches and 15 One-Day Internationals – and later coached the same team to the World T20 title in 2012.
Gibson was not only a fearsome quick but a bowler of high skill, who played league cricket across the Pennines in the Bolton League for Farnworth, the same club where his great friend to this day Vasbert Drakes also played as an overseas professional. He has in that sense, completed the Northern set having played in Lancashire and Durham and coached in Yorkshire.
Gibson’s sporting loves away from cricket included Basketball, Golf and Football. He is a Manchester United fan, though used to head to the Reebok Stadium in Bolton’s Premier League days to watch games with Bolton season ticket holder Mike Watkinson.
Gibson claimed just short of 1,000 wickets across all formats during a decorated professional career which spanned 1991 to 2007 and included cricket at home, in South Africa and England, where he has since settled in Chester-le-Street as he works on a highly successful coaching career.
His haul of 987 wickets included only 18 in T20 cricket, though his 25 appearances in that format was enough time for him to win what is now known as the Vitality Blast with Leicestershire in 2004. He also hit 8,318 runs across all formats as a very useful lower order batter.
His Test debut was against England at Lord’s in June 1995, taking two first-innings wickets in a defeat. One of those scalps was Yorkshire’s current director of cricket Darren Gough.
In terms of his coaching career, England legends Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have praised Gibson’s work as an England fast bowling coach in the recent past. He helped them win the Ashes in 2009 and 2015. He has taken full charge of South Africa as well as the West Indies.
The affable Bajan has been a regular on the global circuit working as an assistant coach at competitions such as the Pakistan Super League and the ILT20 event in the United Arab Emirates.
Gibson has been in charge at Headingley for the past two summers, guiding Yorkshire to Vitality Blast Finals Day last year.
He has worked incredibly hard to guide his squad through a challenging couple of years, and he will be hoping that 2024 bears the fruits of his labour with a Championship promotion campaign.