Saturday, 11 April 2020 marks exactly 20 years since Hansie Cronje was removed from the Proteas captaincy after being involved in match-fixing.
Cronje was fired after admitting to accepting bribes from illegal bookmakers in India in 2000. Other players were implicated, but later acquitted.
In his words
- ‘I had effectively received money for doing nothing and I rationalised to myself that this was somehow acceptable because I had not actually done anything,’ said Cronje at the time. ‘My intention was not to involve the other players, but merely to forecast which way the match would go, looking at the pitch and conditions. Words cannot begin to describe the shame, humiliation and pain I feel, in the knowledge that I have afflicted this on others. To my wife, family, and teammates, in particular, I apologise. The greatest honour which can be bestowed upon any cricketer is to lead his country’s national side. I have failed in my moral and professional duties.’
Cronje’s final ODI
- Cronje’s final ODI appearance for South Africa was three months earlier. He struck a characteristically commanding 79 against Pakistan in Sharjah, but couldn’t prevent defeat. The half-century was the last of 39 for Cronje in ODI cricket. He also hit two tons against Australia. Five of his highest ODI scores, in fact, came against the Aussies.
His last Test
- Earlier that March, he played his final Test – against India in Bangalore. South Africa won the match by an innings and 71 runs. All-rounder Cronje didn’t really feature. He nabbed the key wicket of Rahul Dravid and managed just 12 with the bat. Cronje the captain, however, was prevalent throughout. His tactics played a large part in a historic 2-0 series triumph in India.
15 months later
- Cronje passed away on 1 June 2002. He died in an aircraft accident. Four years later, an inquest into the incident concluded that ‘the death of the deceased Wessel Johannes Cronje was brought about by an act or omission prima facie amounting to an offence on the part of pilots’.
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