September 20, 2008

South African cricket

Was Cronje wronged?

The screening of Hansie: The Movie, a film made by Cronje's brother's Frans, has evoked reactions in South Africa. Janet Smith writes in the Independent:

Hansie was a liar, a greedy liar, and a damned cheat, and that is why he was banned from cricket and abandoned.

Unlike British Conservative Party politician John Profumo, who resigned and repented by working as a volunteer cleaning toilets at a charity after he was involved in a sex scandal, Hansie banished himself to a sweet life of continued privilege at Fancourt in George with a wife whose devotion beatified him.

Of course, the film shows - as he tosses and turns, sweats and cries - that Cronje went through serious emotional pain. Of course, it was tough to accept isolation.

But the simple question which those who are now being labelled detractors have asked is: Should we have felt sorry for him? What exactly did he do to deserve our forgiveness except make his way through the passage of time?

And that is the critical issue around the movie, which has all but bankrupted Frans. Are you an enemy if you cannot forgive?

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Mathew Varghese is sub-editor (stats) at Cricinfo

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