DateLine: 14th November 2005
Andrew Gaitís decision to join Derbyshire for the 2002 season was always going to be a risk. As soon as he signed for the English county, it meant he could only play for Free State as an overseas player, and West Indian Jimmy Adams was already lined up. He thus swapped a career in South African domestic cricket for one in England. His first season in England was a reasonable success Ė he had averaged over 30 for the first time in his career, been a useful part of Derbyshireís rampaging start to the season (when they had won five out of their first six Championship matches), and a knock of 175 against Northamptonshire (with over 100 coming in boundaries) showed him to potentially be a player of high quality. Those expecting Gait to push on in 2003 were perhaps a little naÔve, as Gait was now a known quantit to opposition bowlers. It was Gaitís third season which really did for him though, as he showed an increasing vulnerability to swing bowlers, with those able to bring the ball back into Gait especially likely to prosper. Gaitís release towards the end of 2004 was a statement of intent to the other under performing members of the Derbyshire squad. Gaitís career in South Africa was similar to his English one, with occasionally sparkling performances (his 138* against Griqualand West in 2000/1 was a Free State limited-overs record at the time, though it has since been bettered by Morn van Wyk) being undermined by an average under 30. Gait is an example that changing countries for the higher wages and greater matches which English county cricket offers has itís risks as well as benefits.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)