Was Cronje fixing matches long before he was caught?

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

Image courtesy of: Hindustan Times

Former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels has revealed that he believes his successor Hansie Cronje was involved in match-fixing long before he was caught.

The cricketing community was completely stunned when Cronje was charged by Delhi police in April 2000 for fixing ODIs against India.

In the time that he was charged until his death two years later in a plane crash, Cronje admitted that he had taken approximately $100,000 in bribes from gamblers in 1996.

But, Wessels shed light on the fact that he had an uneasy feeling that Cronje was involved in the illegal trade long before his crimes were exposed.

During his final tour, which was a triangular series involving South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, Wessels opens up about how Cronje made an odd remark after Pakistan lost a wicket.

“Hansie made a few comments during the last couple of games that led me to believe that things weren’t 100 per cent right,” Wessels said on Fox Sports’ Cricket Legends. “We picked up a wicket and we were in the huddle and Pakistan were 4-120 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’. I’m thinking ‘where’s that coming from?’”

Wessels retired after that tour, but his concerns about Cronje came flooding back once again after he watched South Africa take on Pakistan in another ODI a few months later.

“Two or three run outs straight to Jonty Rhodes… I looked at that (collapse) and thought ‘nup, this can’t be right’,” Wessels said. “And I remembered those sort of conversations (with Cronje) and started to think all is not well.”

Moving away from the subject of Cronje, Wessels also revealed how he was snubbed by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Wessels was invited to a cocktail party at Kirribilli House, but upon being introduced to Fraser, the Australian Prime Minister opted not to shake his hand.

“It wasn’t pleasant,” Wessels said. “But I suppose at the time, South Africa being such a political hotbed of controversy I guess you could sort of understand it.

“I didn’t really want to dwell on it because my whole career seemed to be involved with the political theme which I didn’t really want to dwell on. So I put it behind me but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t (upset me) at the time.”

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