Crookes declares his innocence
Derek Crookes, the former South African spinner, has expressed his dismay at allegations that he was involved in match-fixing in India in 2000. Crookes, 37, has allegedly been named as one of three cricketers involved in the match-fixing scandal during Herschelle Gibbs' questioning by Indian police in Delhi yesterday.
"I was shocked when I heard it, especially as I was cleared by the King Commission of any involvement in match-fixing," Crookes was quoted as saying by the South African website news24.com "I have never had anything to hide and gave evidence during the King Commission's hearings. I will be more than willing to make a statement, along with my legal team, to the Indian police. The only reason I can think of for them wanting to link me in some way to match fixing is that I opened the bowling on that day in Nagpur."
Crookes declared his innocence and maintained that he was told that he would open the bowling in the suspect Nagpur match six years ago. "Hansie Cronjé had told me earlier I would open the bowling. Afterwards it was said to have changed, but shortly before the match, Hansie told me again I would open," he said. "I did not find it strange because I had opened the bowling for Gauteng on occasions. I was always ready for a challenge and suspected nothing when Hansie told me about the plan. I had no idea that it might have something to do with match-fixing or that some guys would be betting on it."
Crookes felt he had no reason to travel to India to testify, and that the Indian police could come to South Africa if they had any questions.
Gibbs, accompanied to New Delhi by his lawyer Peter Whelan, was questioned for two-and-half-hours about his alleged involvement in match-fixing. Both Gibbs and Whelan have denied they mentioned any names to the Indian police, and Whelan still awaited a copy of the questioning's transcriptions. Gordon Templeton, South Africa's media manager, was quick to add: "Matters are very sensitive at this stage and we dare not make a move before we are 100 per cent certain of our facts".
Gibbs will not be questioned during the Champions Trophy tournament.