Cornered, Cronje blamed the devil for his greedy nature
WHATEVER you might say about sports fans, they can be loyal beyond reason.
This was no better expressed in the popular reaction to the disgrace of Hansie Cronje, the former Grey College head boy from Bloemfontein whose stellar cricket career crashed when he was banned from the game for life for his role in the match-fixing scandal. He blamed “the devil”. His bid to overturn the ruling was dismissed, and he died tragically in an air crash near George in 2002, two years before being voted the 11th greatest South African in a popular – thoughunscientific – poll.
In mid-2000, it seemed obvious there was nothing particularly great about him at all, as the following – edited – report reveals.
The image of Hansie Cronje, once the golden boy of South African cricket, is tarnished after three days of hearings at the King Commission.
The former cricket captain – considered to be merely disgraced before the commission started – this week emerged as a manipulative influence who took advantage of young players who followed him.
The evidence presented this week before Judge Edwin King has been devastating.
Cronje’s once-revered reputation has taken a beating as he has appeared as a hypocrite who lured vulnerable players into a web of deceit. The mounting evidence against him this week will be hard to refute.
Damning testimony came from one of the impressionable young players in his team, Herschelle Gibbs.
Gibbs, eager to care for his divorced mother, confessed to accepting $15 000 (about R105 000) from Cronje to play poorly. Gibbs failed to go through with the scheme, but he seems to have sacrificed his career, to tell the truth.
Gibbs has been kicked out of the team and faces the prospect of a life ban, though he didn’t get any money.
Cronje’s history with bookmakers seems to go back as far as 1995, when he approached teammate Pat Symcox about throwing a match at Newlands against Pakistan. He was turned down and South Africa won.
Cronje has issued statements by way of a pastor, Ray McCauley of the Rhema Church. Cronje blamed Satan for tempting him.
Hansie Cronje, former SA cricket captain. June 10, 2000 Hansie’s slide from disgrace to disgust