Proteas pace legend Allan Donald reveals the turmoil that followed the 1999 run-out incident.
It was a moment that has been etched in South African World Cup history for all the wrong reasons. A moment that South African cricket fans will want to erase, but one that can never be forgotten.
It took place in the 1999 World Cup semi-final with Donald and Lance Klusener out in the middle. With one run to win, Donald was run out after a mix-up.
This saw South Africa eliminated from the tournament, handing the win to the eventual winners Australia.
‘The work that was done after that run-out incident was crucial. I don’t think people know how tough it was. I had to face a lot of things.
‘My wife burned letters that were written to me, a lot of abuse was flying around. I had to deal with all of that and I had to deal with the guilt, so to speak, of not making that happen,’ Donald told Wisden cricket monthly.
‘It is still tough to look at, knowing we were just one run away. I am OK with it now. It was a really, really tough time and I had some help from some tremendous people behind the scenes to ease that.
‘But I am in a position now where I can help players. I can relate to their disappointment.’
Donald also revealed that before readmission in 1991, he was almost tempted into playing for England.
‘I was approached by the Smith brothers – Robin and Chris – and I sat down with Allan Lamb in 1990,’ Donald said.
‘They persuaded me that I was good enough to play for England. I was desperate to play international cricket, and at the time the only way to play was for England.
‘I was close to Dr Ali Bacher and he was flying over for an ICC meeting at Lord’s. I told him what was happening and he said, “Please, don’t make any judgements, I’ll tell you where we are heading”.
‘I couldn’t have been happier to hear what was coming out of his mouth. He said to me that we would be back in international cricket the next year and would be going to the World Cup in 1992.
‘I was completely blown away. He just said, “Trust me, this is going to happen”. And it did.’
Donald went on to take 602 international wickets for the Proteas across all formats.