Kepler Wessels revealed that his comments regarding the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal were blown out of proportion.
Cronje admitted in 2000 that he was involved with bookmakers to influence matches since 1996. Yet Wessels, in an open interview on Fox Sport’s Cricket Legends, was quoted by the Herald Sun as saying that Cronje was involved in match-fixing long before Wessels’ own retirement in 1994.
The ex-South Africa and Australia legend, in an interview with Jacaranda FM in Pretoria, has now revealed that the documentary had nothing to do with match-fixing, and that it was unfortunate that negativity has emerged out of something that was meant to be a eulogy of his career.
‘It’s extraordinary, the documentary was about me being embraced and recognised as an Australian cricket legend. The match-fixing thing was literally a minute out of the interview,’ Wessels said.
‘It was misconstrued and sensationalised, as these things happen, but when you are in this position then I suppose you have to accept that from time to time it will, but it’s unfortunate.’
Wessels said he did not have a tarnished relationship with Cronje.
‘I got on very well with Hansie when we were playing. I thought he was an excellent captain, a very good player and I’m very close to his family as well, so from my point of view I’ll never say anything derogatory about him,’ said Wessels.
‘I think we all know it was a tragedy what happened and probably one of the saddest things that’s happened in South African cricket. So from that point of view, it’s just a pity that all this erupted out of all that, I’m still not quite sure how it happened.
‘My last words on that brief part of the show was that he didn’t deserve what came his way. I’ve known Ewie and San-Marie – his parents – all my life, my parents were friends with them. Bloemfontein in those days was a small place, it’s a bit bigger these days, but everybody was all pretty tight.
‘Hopefully, it’s all been put to bed now and people will understand that the whole interview had absolutely nothing to do with match-fixing, it didn’t have anything to do with Hansie in that way either.’
Wessels responded to the query on why he never spoke out during Cronje’s trial.
‘I was next to testify at the King Commission and obviously, I suppose those things would have all come out. I guess they would have asked me some other questions as well, but before I could get there they closed the commission down; so that was that.’