Hansie Cronje fixed matches long before the 2000 revelations, says Kepler Wessels
Kepler Wessels opens up even bigger cans of worms.
What’s the story?
Former international cricketer Kepler Wessels made a bold statement recently, admitting that deceased player and his South African teammate, Hansie Cronje, used to fix matches long before the infamous scandal drew the attention of the whole cricket fraternity in 2000. According to Wessels, he was quite suspicious of Cronje's actions during the 1994 Triangular series which also featured Australia and Pakistan.
“Hansie made a few comments during the last couple of games that led me to believe that things weren't 100 percent right. We picked up a wicket and we were in the huddle and Pakistan were 120/4 or something. And (Cronje) came into the huddle and said 'don't worry about this. We're going to win this one because they're not trying to win it,” said Wessels to Deccan Chronicle.
In case you didn’t know…
Hansie Cronje was charged by match-fixing allegations and taking bribes from gamblers since 1996 and confessed about the activities in 2000 when he was charged by the Delhi police for suspicious activities during a One-Day International match between India and South Africa. Unfortunately, the cricketer died a couple of years later in a plane crash.
The heart of the matter
Kepler Wessels was narrating on the suspicious incident, described an ODI match between South Africa and Pakistan, which took place soon after the above-mentioned fixture. Pakistan, chasing 215 runs was cruising along to a victory and was poised comfortably at 101/2, but collapsed for just 178 runs, eventually losing the match.
Ther former South African skipper is one of the few cricketers to have played international matches for two countries. During the 1970s and 80s, he represented Australia but later came back to play for South Africa for the remaining years of his careers after the ban imposed on the Proteas during the Apartheid was removed.
Parallels from the past
In the midst of the 2000 match-fixing scandal, Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin was also trapped in the conspiracy and got him banned for life by the BCCI and the ICC. The ban was eventually overturned in 2006, but by then his playing days was over and he remained as a person to gossip about in the cricket fraternity. A Bollywood film named “Azhar” was also made based on his events during his dramatic cricketing years.
Match-fixing and spot-fixing are becoming an epidemic in the world of cricket and even though ICC have taken rigorous methods, the plague seems to still affect the game. The recent incidents in the PSL stand as a testament to that.
Whilst Hansie Cronje has a had soft spot in the heart of many a cricket-lover, it would be fair to say that he played a big part in letting this menace through the gates and spread its wing in the sport. And for that, Cronje will forever remain in the black book of Cricket.