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'The match-fixing crisis actually united us as a team'
Part one: Shaun Pollock talks about how South Africa recovered from the match-fixing controversy in 2000 (00:00)
November 18, 2010
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'The match-fixing crisis actually united us as a team'November 18, 2010
Harsha Bhogle: Shaun, thank you so much for coming on this programme.
The cricket world is caught up in all sorts of nonsense at the moment. The mind automatically goes back to 10 years ago, when you found yourself almost in the middle of it all, when you became captain overnight. Do you remember it all?
Shaun Pollock: Yes, I do. We were always sort of under the impression that [match-fixing] might exist and it might be going on, but we never thought it would come and rock us so close to home, with Hansie [Cronje] being involved. It really caught us by surprise, and once again we've been caught a little bit by surprise with what has happened with Pakistan. You thought that the ICC had measures in place and a lot of it had been eradicated, but unfortunately it has reared its ugly head again. From the cricket perspective, you just hope that it gets put to bed as soon as possible and the culprits get dealt with.
HB: You have travelled around the world, and you've seen cricket played in some organised set-ups and some slightly less unorganised set-ups. Do you believe it can ever be stopped?
SP: Well, I think it's got more to do with the kind of betting now. In the early days they needed to be involved with the captains and a lot of the players to do that. But now with spot betting, it's almost like you can just chat to one guy and get involved and get him to do something, which you can make a lot off. I think it's called spread betting here in South Africa. And I think that has been the unfortunate thing, and it really is hard to monitor all of that. But it is sad, you know, particularly for a young player like Mohammad Amir. I have really been impressed by the steps and leaps he has made in world cricket.
HB: Is there a little sympathy for Mohammad Amir? I mean, you have been a young man yourself, you have faced different kinds of pressures… or do you think a crime is a crime, doesn't matter how old you are?
SP: Yeah, I must admit that we all are human. We make mistakes at different times, and his mistake is probably obviously a little bit more severe than some of the others might have made. But you do feel sorry for him.
HB: How difficult is it, then, for a team to come together and play a cricket match? It happened with you when the Hansie thing was happening and you were captain overnight. Is it very difficult for a team to regroup?
|"Hansie was brave enough to take it on the chin. There are a lot of people who have done those kinds of things and haven't admitted to it. He admitted to what he had done wrong, and was willing to take on the consequences of his action"|
SP: Yeah, for us it was really difficult because we didn't really understand what had transpired. For us we felt like Hansie was still innocent. He had been taken out of the team set-up, he had admitted to certain things, but the whole truth of it hadn't come out. We had a series against Australia. It was taking place then and there.
It actually united us as a team. We wanted to get behind each other and make sure that the cricket did the talking. It was just a three-match series that we managed to win. And then there was a three- or four-month break, where they had the King Commission and everything unfolded. We could regroup and come in. But for the Pakistan team now, it's bit of a disaster over there. To have that going on, to try and keep your mind off it, must be hell of a hard thing to do.
HB: Was there anger at all, about what happened with Hansie, as you look back?
SP: I don't think anger, I think maybe disappointment. I know a lot of other players who did have anger, because of the faith they had put in people or the structures. But as I say, you've got to understand that people do make mistakes. I think there is one thing that you have to look at - Hansie was brave enough to take it on the chin. There are a lot of people who have done those kinds of things and haven't admitted to it. He admitted to what he had done wrong, was willing to take the consequences of his action, and was unfortunate. But I don't think anger. More maybe disappointment, and surprise for the fact that it had actually happened under your nose.
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