Sport / Cricket

Sport Staff
2 minute read
23 Feb 2017
9:20 am

Kepler Wessels: Hansie Cronje fixed long before getting caught

Sport Staff

The former Proteas skipper reveals in a TV interview how he had suspicions of his successor's activities just before he retired.

Hansie Cronje (L) succeeded Kepler Wessels as Proteas captain. Photo: News Limited.

Kepler Wessels has re-opened old wounds left by the late Hansie Cronje following 2000’s match-fixing scandal.

In an interview for a cricket magazine show on Australian broadcaster Fox Sports, the 59-year-old Wessels – the Proteas’ first captain since their re-admission to international sport in 1992 – reveals he had his suspicions about Cronje long before his was caught.

Also read: I’m to blame for not seeing us through, says AB de Villiers

The much-admired Cronje admitted in April 2000 to attempting to fix matches after Indian police charged him.

He was handed a lifetime ban from cricket a few months later and tragically died in a plane crash in 2002.

However, Wessels’ new insights potentially point to how Cronje, over a period of six years, gradually entangled himself with match-fixers and bookmakers.

The dogged left-hander, who played for Australia during the Apartheid era, says his last one-day series for South Africa in 1994 was revealing to him.

The Proteas had contested a triangular series in Pakistan.

“Hansie made a few comments during the last couple of games that led me to believe that things weren’t 100% right,” said Wessels.

“We picked up a wicket and we were in the huddle and Pakistan were 4-120 or something.  Hansie 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’.

“I’m thinking ‘where’s that coming from?’ ”

South Africa lost all six of their matches in that series.

A few months later, the Proteas won the first final of a quadrangular series at home to Pakistan at Newlands.

Pakistan lost that match spectacularly after dominating most of the proceedings.

Interestingly, the visitors were captained by Saleem Malik, who was also later banned for match-fixing.

“There were two or three run outs straight to Jonty Rhodes. I looked at that collapse and thought ‘nup, this can’t be right’,” said Wessels.

“And I remembered those sort of conversations with Cronje and started to think all is not well.”

Pakistan lost their last eight wickets for 77 runs, chasing a mediocre 215 with Malik being one of the batters that were senselessly run out.

It was Cronje’s first one-day series as the new Proteas skipper.

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