Match Fixing Anniversary

The Grinch who stole cricket

Just when his country had made it back into the fold after the years of apartheid came Cronje to end the innocence

Telford Vice

July 1, 2010

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

A collage of newspaper headlines about Hansie Cronje's match-fixign confession, Johannesburg, South Africa, 12 April 2000
The second-biggest story in the world on the day Yoav Lemmer / © AFP

It took a newsstand owner in the mid-afternoon madness of Manhattan to put Hansie Cronje in his place.

"What a cricketer he was," he said after we had established our respective credentials as Indian and South African, "but what a crook."

That exchange took place over the purchase of a copy of the New York Times on Lexington Avenue on a drenched day in March, 2005. The Cronje saga had ripped the heart out of South African cricket five years earlier, but the wounds were still raw. Now, another five years on, revisiting that bizarre time when cricket was crime and crime was cricket doesn't hurt quite so much. We're over it, but thanks for asking.

And if you believe that, you'll believe that diamonds mark the parking spaces reserved for elephants in the gold-lined streets of Johannesburg.

Part of the pain is the fact that a South African was at the centre of the scandal. We had, not many years before, thrown off the yoke of apartheid and been welcomed back into the world as prodigals. After being untouchables for so long we were everybody's favourite cricketing nation. At least, that's what being South African felt like back then. Cronje took that from us. He ended the innocence we were indulging in when we called ourselves cricket people. He was, and remains, the Grinch who stole cricket.

But as he emerged with puffy eyes, an uncertain mouth and weary shoulders into the blare and glare of the King Commission on June 15, 2000, he looked anything but monstrous. Gone was the square-jawed strut with which he had won the hearts, or at least the respect, of cricket lovers everywhere.

"The truth shall set you free," the judge, Edwin King, told him simply and powerfully. But Cronje didn't seem to be listening. He bobbed and weaved through the early parts of his testimony, even managing a weak smile at inappropriate moments. It couldn't last, and as the commission's legal team found its feet so Cronje lost his. Sportsmen who retire in conventional fashion are afforded a second honeymoon by their public, a gentle time before they ride off into the sunset of real life when they're treated as if they still are what they once were. Not Cronje. He was demolished as a cricketer and as a man in the space of a few weeks. Then he spent three days in the dock, watching his own funeral from an unsafe distance.

At the end, as he left the witness stand, Cronje needed the physical support of two men, one of them his brother Frans. Someone who once bestrode with a swagger the entire cricket world had been reduced to a stumbling mess.

It was the last time I saw him. The image will haunt me forever.

For some, this was more a beginning than an end. We started asking ourselves why a particularly unsuccessful bowling change happened when it did. Was that batsman really guilty of nothing more than poor judgement when he drove tamely to short cover and set off on a disastrous single? That catch was easier to hold than to drop, so how come it went down?

What would happen, we wondered, if both teams had been paid to lose? Would we see batsmen whose determination to be dismissed was matched only by their opponents' resolve to ensure that they survived and prospered? A diabolical notion indeed, but a contest of sorts would unfold nonetheless. Perhaps the scoreboard, which would have to have been designed by Salvador Dali, would tick backwards in matches of this strange ilk.

We accepted, bleakly, that cricket was not a game of talent, skill and honest chance. Instead, it was a series of suspicious events which were not as haphazard as we had been led to believe.

The other extreme was occupied by those who refused to believe that Cronje had done anything wrong. Or that he had taken the fall for a host of dirtier figures. These unfortunates were out in force on a particular morning during the King Commission when, from outside the august proceedings, a chant went up.

The trickle of reporters towards the noise swelled to a gush as the volume rose. Soon most of us stood on the pavement looking at a bunch of students opposite. Their undone trousers were around their ankles as they sang, over and over: "Gee vir Hansie nog 'n kansie." That's Afrikaans for, "Give Hansie another chance."

On another day I found myself in grim conversation with a member of the Cronje family. "You damn reporters; why don't you stick to writing about cricket," he snarled. "I wish I could," I replied. "If only the cricketers would stick to playing cricket."

How many other lies did Cronje tell us? How often did he loft a shot and hope like hell that he would be caught? How many players besides Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams did he drag into the darkness of cricket's underworld?

There had been nothing at all to laugh or be smug about on April 11, 2000, which veterans of that swirl of fact, fiction and fantasy still call Black Tuesday. As I made my way to the first press conference, a Reuters editor called to tell me that the news desk had declared the Cronje affair the second biggest story in the world that day. What, I thought to myself, could possibly be bigger.

For Ali Bacher, then the managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, the day had started much earlier. When the phone rings at 3am, the news can only be as dark as the night it rends. Cronje called Bacher to say he had not been "entirely honest" with him.

Before that moment, Cronje had grabbed by the throat reports of his involvement in match-fixing. "I am stunned," he said on April 7, the day the story broke in India. "The allegations are completely without substance. I have been privileged to play for South Africa since 1992 and I want to assure every South African that I have made 100% effort to win every match that I have played."

Bacher stood by his man: "I have spoken to Hansie and he says it is absolute rubbish. He is known for his unquestionable integrity and honesty." Two days later Cronje couldn't quite look a roomful of reporters in the face when he said, "I have never received any sum of money for any match that I have been involved in and have never approached any of the players and asked them if they wanted to fix a game."

A lie, of course. Cronje received an offer of $250,000 for South Africa to lose a one-day international against India in 1996. That was bad enough, but not as alarming as the fact that he put the proposition to his team. Most disturbing of all, the South Africans met three times to discuss the offer before turning it down.

How many other lies did Cronje tell us? How often did he loft a shot and hope like hell that he would be caught? How many players besides Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams did he drag into the darkness of cricket's underworld? How often did he go onto the field not caring a jot about the hopes of a nation he carried with him?

We will never know, because on June 1, 2002, Cronje died in a plane crash. He left behind him a South African cricket landscape as desolate as the Cape mountainside on which his life came to a harsh end. Distrust and gloom hung over the game in this country like the fog that caused the aircraft that was carrying him to lose its way.

Graeme Smith's appointment as captain in 2003, which represented a clean break from the Cronje era, heralded a brighter day. But South Africa only re-emerged fully into the light when they won their first Test series in Australia in 2008-09. There was finally a bigger elephant in the room than the match-fixing scandal, and it was a welcome guest.

Some thought Cronje would have made a place for himself in the sun of this new time, that he would have returned rehabilitated and ready to give back some of what he took. For these hopeful souls, Cronje's premature death was a tragedy. For those of a more sober disposition, tragedy had befallen him some years earlier.

Will the hard of heart ever forgive him? Don't bet on it.

Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2010, 21:36 GMT)

Good point. Cricket's not over it. I don't think cricket will ever be over it. We'll always be trying to understand why. I'm currently about 3/4 way through the biography and quite frankly I think so much has been left out that it doesn't try to make us understand. Maybe I'll feel differently when I've finished but somehow I doubt it.

It takes a lot for my dad to admit he has a hero of any sort but when we watched Hansie play in England in the 90s he admitted it. A couple of years later the scandal broke and he's hardly ever said a good word about a cricketer since. I stopped watching cricket for a few year and I was fanatical, it was that much of a shock to me.

Hansie disappointed a lot of people from all nationalities but on reflection I think it's harsh to say he has shocked and disappointed the most out of anyone. Most of us didn't know him. Let's put everything in perspective.

Posted by K-amps on (July 2, 2010, 19:36 GMT)

Telford, no one needed their noses rubbed in this. It adds little value, the guy is dead, Quite frankly digging up this dirt was in bad taste. I want back the 5 minutes of my life you wasted.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2010, 17:58 GMT)

luv u hansie.....u will always b in our hearts.....i think bcoz of u now any south african will nt deviate frm his path......u r still our hero..n' our team proteas is going to accomplish ur dream in 2011.....i can never forget that day 1 june 2002.......luv u...

Posted by   on (July 2, 2010, 17:49 GMT)

"The truth shall set you free," the judge, Edwin King, told him simply and powerfully. But Cronje didn't seem to be listening. That's set him a date with his destiny. It's a tragedy we fans will moan a long long time.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (July 2, 2010, 16:47 GMT)

I have never forgive anyone and I never will. There is always very thin line between Satisfaction and Lust that separates you from being dignified person. For every individuals, every profession, there will be lust, there will be opportunity, there will be mud, that will haunt you. We aren't call social animal for nothing. It wasn't like Cornje was poor, but as Rameez Raja said it is all about personal individuals. Same thing for Azher, I have lost all respect in seconds after I heard the news, no matter how much catharsis they have went through or how much penalty they have paid to forgive themselves is not acceptable. In Cornje case, he was lucky to be rested in peace. People don't realize when country hero does something like this, people often don't treat your countrymen same. Journalists taunt your countrymen all time, even if you are 100 % pure sportsmen. When certain individuals migrate to different countries they treat you same way as your heroes have treated game. It was shame

Posted by   on (July 2, 2010, 16:45 GMT)

Hansie Cronje was a great great captain.His record as a captain is really something to talk about. He may have done something wrong but believe it or not bigger scoundrels are there in the game of cricket. He was an honest man who accepted all the wrong doings. But we need to understand that he had a courage to accept it. There must be other players who indulged in a similar activity but never accepted it. Just to give u examples in other sports like Agassi.Marion Jones, they were involved in cheating but they accepted it and fought the situation. They stilt are remembered as great players. Hansie to me will always be one of the greats to play cricket. I think his record will speak for him. God may give him solace wherever he is. Salute to one of the best all-rounders in game of cricket.

Posted by Deadlygoogly on (July 2, 2010, 14:56 GMT)

Hansie was a good cricketer and an able captain. What happened with the scandal was unfortunate. However almost every successful cricketer in the 1985 - 2005 era whether booked in the record or not has been involved in 'betting'. He was caught and he accepted it. There are many who were also caught, but were shielded and many more who were not caught at all. His death put an end to the whole investigation; nobody talks about 'betting' anymore although it still exists. The author has presented Hansie in a very negative manner, whose death itself seems to be a conspiracy, seems like it was more an effort to avoid a whole new can of worms from opening. The game of cricket has lost its innocence, purpose and grace. With so much money involved every result of every match seems questionable. Well Hansie did make a mistake, but the way it was dealt with did nothing to better the situation and that can be justified with the events that took place in the world cup that went by.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2010, 13:51 GMT)

Dear BillyCC, ok lets say it this way that he was most successful despite he may not have had best intentions to win while his descendants are not as successful despite their all intentions to win. Please let his soul rest in peace.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2010, 12:34 GMT)

Interesting how international cricket writers still talk about this. Where are the stories we still haven't heard on Akram or Mark Waugh or Azhar or Warne or Alec Stewart? Are any of you ever going to engage in actual journalism to tell us what they got up to? Or will you remain lazy and fill column space with yet another rehash of 'Hansie, how could you?' every time an anniversary rolls around? Pathetic.

Posted by CricIndian9 on (July 2, 2010, 12:20 GMT)

I'll never forget that day -- the darkest day of my life! As I saw Cronje weep on my TV screen, tears rolled down my eyes too. I felt betrayed, looted and killed! I'm not a South African but it didnt matter. I am a Cricket fan. I live because i love the game. I still do, but every time I think about that day, my eyes fill with tears. I dont know why, but i've forgiven him long ago. My tears were no less when i heard of his death. I had already forgiven him by then. i dont know why. but i still live with the pain and it will never diminish. I'm still not over it and will never be. it kills me when someone talks about My Heroes being dishonest. It KILLS!!!

Posted by sean_kelly on (July 2, 2010, 11:13 GMT)

We will never know the truth of it. I don't think I've even been so shocked and disappointed by anyone.

Posted by AB_DeVilliers on (July 2, 2010, 10:00 GMT)

The best captain SA cricket ever had.

Posted by mattinbgn on (July 2, 2010, 5:02 GMT)

It is possible to forgive what Hansie did, but we should never, ever forget what he did and we should not attempt to whitewash it away or to minimise the harm his actions caused to the game we all love. It is important that the decline and fall of what appeared to be an admirable man is remembered - as a warning to others who may be tempted to stray from the straight and narrow path.

Posted by NikhilPapad3 on (July 2, 2010, 2:34 GMT)

Nice artcile, but i though it was a little hard done by, Hansie Cronje, although he was invloved in match fixing, he did not ever throw a game for South Africa, he has clearly said that in the Kings Court High Commission, "Ive received sums of money from bookmakers but i have NEVER thrown a game for south africa", i think this article focuses mainly on the negative side of what cronje did and not the embarrsement and resentment he felt after the kings commisiion trial, peter pollock himself stated thta hansie was never himself after the kigs commission affair and the south afrcian cricket board had treated him unfailr and they should have given hi another chance, a life ban was a little too harsh and Dr.Ali Bacher is resented beacuse of this even today

Posted by talljuanny on (July 2, 2010, 1:33 GMT)

Everybody knows that Hansie committed a mistake, he knew it himself more than anyone else and hence confessed everything out, literally! It is because of his confessions that we now have a hold on the match fixing scandal. God knows how long these kind of things have been going on in Cricket but you gotta give it to Hansie to have the guts to spill it out, unlike some we know off. Under Cronje's captaincy South Africa won 27 Tests and lost 11, completing series victories against every team except Australia. He captained the One-Day International team to 99 wins out of 138 matches with one tied match and three no results. He holds the South African record for matches captained in and matches won as captain.His 99 wins as captain makes him the third most successful captain worldwide in terms of matches won, behind Ricky Ponting and Allan Border, and in terms of percentage of wins (73.70), behind Ponting and Clive Lloyd. His record speaks for itself. He is one of the Greatest Captains.

Posted by KOLHAPURI on (July 2, 2010, 1:08 GMT)

Oh! What I really remember is, he was the best cricketer, best of the captain of his times. I don't really remember what wrong did he do which definitely was not good for the world of cricket. But, he was the one who with his brilliance as a captain had threatened the best of the teams during those years. And, yes I really admire him for his courage to come forward to accept the sins and as someone has commented he did take the knocks for many others too who were involved in the ill act of bringing bad name to the world of cricket. I am an Indian but I loved him because from my perspective he was the greatest SA cricketer of his times.

Posted by BillyCC on (July 2, 2010, 0:06 GMT)

Abu Rai, what are you talking about? Cronje's captaincy didn't win any of the 27 test matches. Why? Because we don't know and will never know whether he tried or not. All we know is that he was not supported by the other players, and so it is those players who deserve the credit for the wins. Cronje could have deliberately used poor bowling options, poor field placings, batted a little slower or a little more aggressive SO THAT HE COULD MAKE MORE MONEY. We know now that it is not only the result of the match that matters to corrupt bookies, but the way the match unfolds.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 22:39 GMT)

What achievements? Hansie's record at top level is barely mediocre.

Yes, others cheated. But then most others did not set themselves up to be a model of virtue. As a "holier than thou" bible basher, his hypocrisy is all that will live on outside SA. Worse still, he targetted the youngest and most vulnerable members of his team - people who trusted him - and dragged them down with him. Gibbs was only just starting out when Cronje offered him the cash, and as the first cape coloured to play for SA since the lifting of apartheid - he had morehope and expectation than most hanging on him. The last thing he needed was a corrupt captain. That's not just being a crook - that's being a really nasty spiteful calculated and vindictive person Whatever he achieved in South Africa, I can tell you that the rest of the world can't see it, and a look through "Stats Guru" sure doesn't help his case. A mediocre cricketer and a poor human being. Sorry he's gone though. He didn't deserve thatt

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 21:44 GMT)

Hansie was a great cricketer and a great leader. I understand that he sinned, but in the cricketing world, a lot of players have committed more sins, yet have got away with it. To err is human and there is nobody in this world who has never erred in life. I love Hansie, only because he accepted that he erred and if such a man cannot be forgiven, who else can be? May his sould rest in peace.

Posted by WallyD on (July 1, 2010, 20:11 GMT)

Hi Telford, regards from Slum. When Hansie was 13 years old he scored 150 runs for Grey College against a Jo'burg school, and for which his father had promised him an incentive/ reward of R1,00 per run. He had to pay, and at that stage probably 20% of his salary. That was his foray into the apt Afrikaans word of "geldgerigheid" or the love of money, or greed. As Clive Rice was once reported to have said, no one at the King Commission ever asked him about his involvement in 'spread betting', thats where he made his money! While he could probably say that he never threw a game, why was his record on the sub-continent so dismal? I will never forget the OFS president Blair reportedly saying that he was not suitable to be the SA captain, and that it would all "end in tears" The guy was not stable. He gave several SA players the kiss of death", like Gibbs, Boje, Williams & Striker Strydom. He was a liar to the end.

Posted by Tank24 on (July 1, 2010, 20:08 GMT)

I unfortunately didn't get to know Hansie personally. Had he lived I am certain I would have. You see, I recently found out I have a relative who stood by him during this whole mess and I trust this person enough to believe every word that he says. He told me how it effected Hansie and how it changed him as a person, but in the end he found forgivness and has gone to a much better place than where we are. I don't need to defend him, he did something wrong. owned up to it and accepted his punishment.

It is sad that people still feel the need to have a go at him but I understand. I was also angry with him, I felt betrayed, but have learnt to forgive, by realising my own shortcomings. I will offer one word of advice, Hansie still has a very powerfull advocate, so I would quite careful in passing judgement on him. For we will too have to answer for all we have done. Hansie will always be one of my hero's, not for what he did on the field, but how he lived his life off of it.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 18:14 GMT)

The author is little biased against Hansie Cronje .When you measure a persons Quality you have to look at both his goods and bads equally .... I have seen this author Telford Vice speakiing about cronje in television here is the link ( ... guys also watch the series of videos relating to that link... he was speaking blatantly against cronje like cronje was contaminating black cricketers....hansie did make a mistake...but he himself came forward and accepted everything ... he shud have just given a ban of one or 2 years and given a chance to come back

Posted by movvasatya on (July 1, 2010, 17:44 GMT)

I remember thinking that a man as intense and proud as Cronje couldn't ever commit the terrible crimes he was accused of. It felt terrible when he confessed. For some reason I couldn't hate him. I remember feeling deeply sorry for him.But it was worse when he died in a plane crash. It was as if some spirit had refused to let him have a moment's peace. This is one story that could have done with fewer twists and a more bland ending. However , an excellent article by Mr. Vice. Very well written and touching. Thank you for saying what we all would if we had your skill.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 17:15 GMT)

Agree with SupernDutta!!!

Posted by smartbombayite on (July 1, 2010, 17:06 GMT)

Sure, Hansie admitted himself to be a part of the match fixing syndicate. Now, the great man is no longer amongst us. I say great as he was the first and only big cricketer of his stature to admit his guilt and misdoing. I am so ashamed of the Indian media and of course our Indian government that we did not do anything out of the ordinary to nab the match fixers and the main antagonists involved (read Azhar, Jadeja, Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma etc except for some years banned) . Cronje definitely got his dues but what about all the others who were involved in such instances and what about those people who are still committing such crimes. Cronje was a great human being and he surely exhibited an amazing change of heart and opened his conscience out when he opened the can of worms. I pray to God to give Cronje all the rest he deserves in heaven. A great player, a greater captain and I feel one of the greatest South African legends ever. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

Posted by LourensGrobbelaar on (July 1, 2010, 16:36 GMT)

Let's remember that Hansie Cronje came out on his own before he was caught out. He did not wait for it to happen. His initial denial is typical of what most people would do in that situation. The difference is that most will continue to lie and lie, deny and deny until they can go nowhere else. That is what I will remember, that we have to take responsibility for our actions, but if the price is to high most of us will get a good lawyer and wiggle our way out of it. He had more to loose than most of us ever will and yet Hansie chose the more difficult way. Had it not been for that matchfixing and spreadbetting would be a myth we al suspect exists, but we could not proove it.

Would you, o judge and jury have paid the price if it was you? Most of you would not. I am not sure if I would have. The mark of a man is not being without fault, but how you handle your mistakes, and your willingness to suffer for it.

Posted by dscheepers on (July 1, 2010, 15:47 GMT)

Thanks Telford for keeping Hansie alive ( even if in the negative), yes he faulted, but he admitted, unlike those who milked the game in the 80's and got away with it. In a 100 years from now He will still be in the record books for his achievements, wonder how and if you will be remembered? I really think it is time to put his failings and indiscretions to bed once and for all.Lets concentrate on the positive aspects of the game, the achievements not the failures.

Posted by DanyalRasool on (July 1, 2010, 15:33 GMT)

Telford is, excuse the pun, a vice to cricket. He has been on Hansie's case since 2000, and fails to understand that without Hansie's extraordinary leadership skills, South Africa would never have become a force in cricket. A man as great as Mr.Mandela was all praise for him. A life ban was in any case ridiculous as he was found guilty of forecasting results, not manipulating them and things like pitch reports and what he would do if he won the toss. Effectively that's what Waugh and Warne did and their board protected them.You just HAVE to believe Hansie when he says he never fixed a game for South Africa.He was thier greatest cricketing servant and Vice ignores all that. Shameful, indeed.

Posted by Dazzling_Devil on (July 1, 2010, 15:22 GMT)

In films, Actors 'act', take 100s of 'Retakes'.... n work like Puppets, yet they are CELEBS. In fixed cricket matches, Players 'act' without 'Retakes'..... but they end up being CRIMINALS.

I know its illogical comparison.

Agreed that match fixing is bad, but everyone should forgive them all for sake of Humanity. They were wrong, but they were still humans.

Posted by george204 on (July 1, 2010, 14:50 GMT)

If Cronje actually had accepted his guilt, told the full story & felt sincere contrition then perhaps, just PERHAPS, there may have been the possibility of SOME level of forgiveness & rehabilitation. But he did none of those things - he evaded, lied & continued denying some of the more lurid allegations long after his guilt was established. The rest of the South African team, along with the late Bob Woolmer who (was then coach) hardly emerged from the scandal with clean reputations either.

If you want to understand just what Cronje did & how bad it was, dig out the 2001 Wisden & read Mihir Bose's masterly account, or indeed Graeme Wright's editorial.

However, I am curious: exactly what WAS Reuters' biggest story of the day?

Posted by farhankhan82 on (July 1, 2010, 14:47 GMT)

Mr.Telford is right to a larger extent, cronje has done an irrepairable damage to Cricket and things like a run out, a soft dismissal , a fumble etc will be viewed with suspicion for ever for which cronje is instrumental, but having said that, one must also note the point raised by mr.kkrish.tej , Azharuddin is a far more bigger cheat, but got away with it, azhar was not shamed the way cronje was since there was no particular tape or conversation found like in case of cronje who could not deny or escape & there might be many more like Wasim Akram, and especially Salim malik , Azhar etc who were let off with so called LIFE BAN which is pointless as they were already past their prime in cricket career, It was very tragic end for cronje in 2002 and those who still vociferously appeal against cronje must take a minute out and realize that whether good or bad,what ever he was, his chapter is closed and he is dead,no harsher punishment than an untimely death...

Posted by gudolerhum on (July 1, 2010, 14:38 GMT)

It really says something about a person when they count Cronje's record of "success" as the mark by which he is judged. The man was dishonest with himself, with his teammates, his friends and his family. He deceived them all and continually lied until it became impossible for him to do other than admit his crimes. Please grow up - he was a useful cricketer, could have been a good captain except for his major weakness - $$. let's not say that others got away with it too, that does not detract from what he did to SA. Let him be.

Posted by Makhulu00 on (July 1, 2010, 14:25 GMT)

Hansie was and always be a legend. No, i dont have blind vision because what he did was wrong, but he came clean and admitted all he had done. Blind vision is believing that many other so called heroes of the time were invovled in the same or worse, yet are still idolised as retired heroes. Hansie took the knock for a lot of people, yet instead of dragging others down with him, he took responsibility for what HE had done wrong.

Posted by Pablo123 on (July 1, 2010, 14:25 GMT)

Cronje was our hero ! still our finest captain ever, and one of the best ever in world cricket.

We could rely on him and his team to pull us out of seemingly unsolvable situations - and they did many times.

He and Bob Woolmer had a cricketing ethos drilled into the team which saw them being the best ODI outfit for long periods of time in the 90's.

He had a slip up, but I don't believe he ever threw a game. Telford, 90% of South Africans still admire him - for what he meant as a captain and cricketer to our nation - we forget the slip up as it was ever so small in an otherwise brilliant career.

Posted by jeromedascorp on (July 1, 2010, 14:17 GMT)

I remember watching Hansie's group of what I saw as ODI Invincibles in the 1999 World Cup. Gibbs and Kirsten Started things off, and Klusener ended the innings with a bang. I really wanted South Africa to Win that year and did not believe any team could beat them. I still dont think that Australia deserved to win. Now I wonder, did Australia really win in the Super sixes or did South Africa Lose it? Did Australia tie the match or Did South Africa not win in the Semis? Hansie did plenty of great things for South African Cricket, but in just a matter of months he went from most loved captain to most hated cricketer. To this day I cannot have a conversation with anyone about a match without match fixing being talked about as a reason for the results. Hansie Cronje has made us doubt every cricketer's abilities. I know many people will only remember that he was a crook, but I remember admiring him as a captain and a great leader. RIP Hansie Cronje. I just wish you hadnt gone so soon.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 13:47 GMT)

I really loved Cronje,,,He was a fantastic player and a strong captain.... I really felt that he should have been another chance even i am not a south african... I guess, south African's won a series in australia in 2008/9 was too late, if Cronje were given another chance, it could have been in 2003/4......... May God, rest his soul in Peace...........

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 13:45 GMT)

Hansie was a cheat, as Telford has already said. He was a liar too, as Telford said. He was prepared to throw younger players (Gibbs, Boje, et al) to the lions in order to make more money for himself. He therefore further brought shame to the position of national captain - instead of protecting his charges as a real leader would do, he was happy to sell them out.

He also presented a squeaky-clean image to the world and the country as a God-fearing man with impeccable morals. I remember him angrily refusing an interview with the Mail & Guardian as he accused them of being 'pornographers'. He was therefore also a hypocrite.

He NEVER apologised even when he was caught out, as some other comments have wrongly claimed. He lied until he was caught, and then blamed the devil, claiming that he 'took his eyes off the Lord'. The mark of a real man is one who takes responsibility for his actions. Hansie did not do this. He was no real man.

I still regret his premature death.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 12:55 GMT)

A very one sided opinion from Telford Vice, stats in cricket never lie and the fact Hansie IS STILL our most successful captain says it all , South African cricket is in a mess right now not by his actions , but because of the constant interference from our Government. He was not perfect and he did make mistakes , but all in all his contribution was far more POSITIVE than negative , he with Bob Woolmer took cricket not just in South Africa but worldwide to a new level in fitness and professionalism , a pity how certain individuals can only remember the bad times .

Advice - stick to writing articles for the Daily Dispatch for the local leagues Telford, and let the once LEGEND of Sa cricket rest in peace!!!!!His smile and charisma whilst wearing the green and gold and more to the point his professionalism has never been surpassed by cricketers present or before in our beloved South African team. Right now he is playing in Gods eleven , he confessed repented and paid for his sins.

Posted by SupernDutta on (July 1, 2010, 12:49 GMT)

For the sake of GOD and Humaity Please Leave His soul alone.Its been ages now he is gone.Yes, he did a crime in game but you cannt ignore his capability a a player and as a inspirational captain.SA cricket came into limelight under him.I have regards for a person who had heart to accept his mistake in open public.not every betrayer has courage and heart to accept his guilt.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 12:42 GMT)

A very one sided opinion from Telford Vice, stats in cricket never lie and the fact Hansie IS STILL our most successful captain says it all , South African cricket is in a mess right now not by his actions , but because of the constant interference from our Government. He was not perfect and he did make mistakes , but all in all his contribution was far more POSITIVE than negative , he with Bob Woolmer took cricket not just in South Africa but worldwide to a new level in fitness and professionalism , a pity how certain individuals can only remember the bad times .

Advice - stick to writing articles for the Daily Dispatch for the local leagues Telford, and let the once LEGEND of Sa cricket rest in peace!!!!!His smile and charisma whilst wearing the green and gold and more to the point his professionalism has never been surpassed by cricketers present or before in our beloved South African team. Right now he is playing in Gods eleven , he confessed repented and paid for his sins.

Posted by kapilesh23 on (July 1, 2010, 12:38 GMT)

he is not a great cricketer .he has done match fixing and it is not a small crime .but he is definitely a good man because he came out and confessed .indian cricketers who were involved in match fixing have not confessed yet .the former indian captain md azhruddin is enjoying his political stint .other indian cricketers who were involved in match fixing are living a descent life .this thing separate hansie cronge from other cricketers .he definitely commited a crime and bore the brunt of it silently not like ajay jadeja who was fighting for his innocence untill recent times.

Posted by shovwar on (July 1, 2010, 12:35 GMT)

Who said Hansie never achieved anything? Which captain has an 83% winning in ODIs? I think he was the most successful ODI captain ever in short period and he was the only SA captain to win a major ICC tounament in Dhaka with a 2nd string SA team....the 99 WC was a bad luck and the the Scandal was over-hyped: most the captains did it n gotout of it....but atleast he was a lil more honest to admit...

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 12:32 GMT)

Perhaps more than the cheating itself was the fact that he denied it for so long. I remember being outraged that anyone would have the gall to accuse Hansie of cheating - he was 'our Hansie' and we all thought he was being unfairly accused. I still remember sitting at my desk the day my wife phoned to say she'd heard on the radio that Hansie had confessed. I was absolutely stunned, and more than a bit disappointed.

Maybe if, when first accused, he'd turned around and said 'yes I did it, everyone is doing it and it is part of the modern game' we would have seen him differently 10 years on - the man who was honest. Instead, for me at least, there is still the sense of betrayal and innocence lost.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 11:45 GMT)

he was indeed a good cricketer!! he was inspirational leader!! very nice article!! rest in peace hansie!!

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 11:45 GMT)

Leave HIM alone now, he is gone. Dont sell your piece...

Posted by kkrish.tej on (July 1, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

hansie for all his failings was a good person...temptation and momentary greed make us do a lot of bad things...but the regret he felt was what made a nation forgive him...not entirely of course... but being an indian...i can but fume at the actions of md.azharuddin who hails from my home town...he hasn't done anything which says that he regrets it...he is and will always be the a person who betrayed his team and all his fans...if he hadn't been an indian he'd have been crucified for the way he carries himself...nowadays he even calls himself a politician...

Posted by Nirajstranger on (July 1, 2010, 11:23 GMT)

i remeber Hansie as cricketer whom i liked as i was growing up watchin cricket..Heard that he did this and that...And he died!!!! one sad day for cricket who dare to say yes i did...may be he was just victim or big racket as we know even u enter mistakenly thereis only one door..either be inside or die....

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 10:45 GMT)

10 years............ohh my God

Posted by umerlqt on (July 1, 2010, 10:08 GMT)

@ Muhammad NIslam Very well said Muhammad, i couldn't agree more.

Telford, He is dead, a real man who accepted his mistake. Unlike many of us don't even accept our mistakes.

Hansie Cronje is a legend and now he is no more alive, please stop publishing his one mistake as if he was the worst of human kind.

Posted by since7 on (July 1, 2010, 9:58 GMT)

as an indian cricket fan who was following india's fortunes in the late 90's,I still cant come to terms with hansie's guilt.we held him and his team in very high esteem.with aggressive,hostile fast bowlers,a very long batting order and some really colourful cricketers like donald,klusener and cronje himself,we watched in awe at their progress and was our second home when it came to support.we wanted south africa to win everywhere except against india and cronje was seen to be the epitome of the " aggressive cricketer who managed to remain gentle too" but his act can never be forgiven.when cricketers can get lucrative deals,gain fame,support and love from their countrymen for their cricket,they deserve the brickbats when they fail their men

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 9:27 GMT)

Dont you have a heart. How will you spare a man who died 10 years ago.

Under Cronje's captaincy South Africa won 27 Tests and lost 11 and in One-Day Internationals won 99 out of 138 matches. on overall he was most successful South captain for his country. Cronje's success rate in ODI was 74% compared to G.Smith's 63%. King Commission inquiry found him guilty but it should also be noted that his act did not cause South Africa to lose a single match. He was voted the 11th greatest South African in 2004. Cricket and the world on overall is much more corrupt since his sad demise. If you want to write something write something about today's corruptions - to really make a difference to the world.

Posted by Robski on (July 1, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

Bravo Telford! Tell it like it is. Cronje's most apparent legacy is the distrust many of us now feel whenever somebody plays a ghastly shot at an inopportune moment, or a "dolly" goes down, or a batting order folds like a pack of greasy cards. And dragging trusting young outsiders like Gibbs and Williams into the pit with him was his most grievous sin. If I was South African I'd have trouble forgiving him.

Posted by Marinus777 on (July 1, 2010, 8:58 GMT)

I say get over it already,I reme,ber a time before the Hansie incident that Australie was in the thick of things with Shane Warne and Steve waugh but Australie seemed to cover that one up quite conveniently!

The man is dead,yes it was bad,get over it!

He was still a good man,a great captain and let he who think he has no fault in him throw the first stone..... Mr telford drop the stone in your hand I'm sure you have some skeletons in your closet aswell!

Posted by Geordie613 on (July 1, 2010, 8:29 GMT)

Only someone as honest as this Free State boy would actually have come out with the truth. Well done Hansie! It's very sad that the world couldn't forgive. Your poster hung on my bedroom cupboard when I was young, and the image of your immaculate strokeplay still hangs in my mind. RIP, your suffering in your last days has surely cleansed your soul. VRRRRYYYSTAAAAT!!!!

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 8:11 GMT)

Hansie was an amazing cricketer and he did make mistakes... i still respect him for the fact that he pleaded guilty and asked for forgiveness... i respect him more than my countryman the great Mhd. Azaruddin because the latter still has no regret for what he did to indian cricket... the fact that Hansie was voted the 11th most influential south african of all time is a testimony to the fact that he sure fell from grace but but rose back in the hearts of men... proud of you Hansie :)

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 8:07 GMT)

Very Nice article......pointing out all the real facts......Cronje was an outstanding captain and a real inspiration for aspiring leaders....passianate cricket lovers still respect him a in peace Hansie

Posted by BillyCC on (July 1, 2010, 7:58 GMT)

I don't think Hansie Cronje can be even considered a great cricketer with or without the scandal. Let's face it; he couldn't beat Australia in any form of the game and that appears to be the only time he ever really tried. That was evident when he smashed the door of the umpire's room in Adelaide. A match fixer would have been upset had his team won. Therefore that remains the only series that we can safely say that Cronje tried to win. And he lost. South Africa still won series when he was captain, which means that it is the other South African players, not Cronje who deserves the greatness tag. I am speaking of players like Jonty Rhodes and Gary Kirsten who have never been implicated.

Posted by demondaze on (July 1, 2010, 7:57 GMT)

He deserves to be forgiven. He did more than a lot for South African Cricket. I sincerely believe he would have got another chance to play cricket if he had still been alive. Rest in Peace Hansie Cronje, a true legend of the game..

Posted by rainbat on (July 1, 2010, 7:51 GMT)

Don't agree with this article, Hansie might have been flawed but doesn't mean he threw every match and he came clean which should count for something. I'm sure there would have been a lot of players even now still out there who have and are still involved in match fixing but haven't come forward either due to the punishment Hansie has been dished out or even because they are more rough than Hansie. The ICC / authorities should be encouraging players to be more honest and come forward when approached by such rough entities. Hansie RIP, I'm South African and have forgiven you a long time ago and still appreciate the efforts put in on the cricket field

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 7:38 GMT)

I will agree to Mohammad NIslam on this. Though Hansie made few mistakes but he has done more good to SA cricket then bad. He was the one who led the team upfront against the mighty cricketing nations and made SA a super power in Cricketing nation. To repeat what one of my frnd mentioned earlier in comments... "He will still be remembered as a great cricketer with an unfortunate addiction. May you rest in peace friend. We still love you."

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 7:37 GMT)

Hansie Cronje leadership qualities led south Africa to the top .It was due to him that they came from now where to be the no 1 team .They were many players including Indians who were involved in the match fixing scandals but still played for their respective countries after this scandal and those who didn't play after that scandal are also leading a respectful life and are being nominated for powerful positions.According to me, Hansie was just a victim not even a culprit.. I respect him as a captain and as a human who was honest enough to accept his mistakes and has paid a huge penalty for what he did knowingly or unknowingly so it is time to forgive him and just remember his as a great leader and wonderful person

Posted by HansieRules on (July 1, 2010, 7:07 GMT)

It's sad how before, during and after the debacle with Hansie matchfixing was happening all over the world and in every sport yet no other sportsman has ever suffered the consequences that Hansie did.

Even through his matchfixing Hansie's record as a South African captain is unmatched. His percentage of wins as a captain is still up there in the top 3. The world feared what this man could unleash at his true potential and did not allow him to continue.

Hansie's downfall came about after reflection and refusing to take anymore bribes. But it's too late when you are in that deep. They have everything on you. You try to get out but they pull you back in..

Hansie.. Your nation loves you. You will always be known as a great player, captain and ambassador in our eyes.. Rest in peace our dear brother..

Posted by JAMIAWALA on (July 1, 2010, 6:23 GMT)

I forgive him.. He was a great cricketer and a decent man despite all his failings. He deserved a second chance.

Posted by mcr2902 on (July 1, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

A great piece of writing. I wish I could write as well. Was Hansie a victim or villain? I don't know, but I think we have to move on. Of course we are all flawed as humans, Hansie happened to have his flaws exposed in front of the whole world.

Posted by Wisdom_of_Cricket on (July 1, 2010, 5:21 GMT)

"Watching his own funeral from an unsafe distance" - The author's remark is a sign of current times when we rarely forgive those who do wrong. If we do not practice love and compassion on our enemies, then we practice hatred and foolishness.

Posted by SUNDOS on (July 1, 2010, 5:08 GMT)

After the dust has settled on what has been one of the game's biggest scandals,this article provides a perspective.It wasnt just that South Africa returned to the fold,they had to do it in a winning stye.The shining figure of Cronje,groomed for leadership by an entire generation of cricketing greats who never had the chance to display their talents on the international stage,this was a blow to the sporting integrity that South Africa undeniably has. Begs the question,the legion of cricketers whispered about for their involvement have cried hoarse protesting their so called innocence.Hansie Cronje RIP,you had the chance to become a legend.The other murky figures live on...perhaps plotting another scandal.Like a pressure cooker the steam is hissing again...For more details watch the IPL news...

Posted by 2ndGemini on (July 1, 2010, 4:55 GMT)

If only you were an Indian (and alive), Hansie!!! You would have been a member of Parliament today! I respected you then and I feel for you now, only because you did not get a chance to make amends; for those of the time who had the chance did nothing but take advantage of their community, play victims, and made it to the 'real deal'.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2010, 4:27 GMT)

Hi Telford, I couldn't be more agreed with your comments but there is lot of jerk like you still leave in this planet that those who only remember one bad things and judging by one mistake. Cronje did enough for south African cricket to forgive him for this one mistake. People like you think yourself as an angel but don't forget he was a human. As lot of match fixing is still happening and it doesn't even come out because there are few people like Cronje still in this planet who have the guts to come out with the truth like Cronje had. So leave Cronje alone and try to solve lot of problem in SA cricket still have..

Posted by mathematicised on (July 1, 2010, 3:44 GMT)

It had to be someone as loved as Hansie. Steal, he did. From an outsider's perspective, he will still be remembered as a great cricketer with an unfortunate addiction. May you rest in peace friend. We still love you.

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Telford ViceClose
Telford Vice Telford Vice, crash-boom-out left-hand bat, sort-of legspinner, was never sure whether he was a cricket person. He thought he might be when he sidestepped a broken laptop and an utter dearth of experience to cover South Africa's first Test match in 22 years in Barbados in 1992. When he managed to complete Peter Kirsten's biography as well as retain what he calls his sanity, he pondered the question again. Similarly, when he made it through the 2007 World Cup - all of it, including the warm-up matches - his case for belonging to cricket's family felt stronger. But it was only when the World Twenty20 exploded gloriously into his life in 2007 that he knew he actually wanted to be a cricket person. Sort of ...
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