Image courtesy of: Hindustan Times
Kepler Wessels has clarified the comments he recently made about former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje being involved in match-fixing long before he was convicted.
In 2000, Cronje admitted that he had been taking bribes from bookmakers since 1996 and he was subsequently banned for life. But, just two years later, Cronje died in a plane crash.
Wessels made the remarks about Cronje during an interview with Fox Sports for their Cricket Legends documentary programme.
Speaking about the comments he made, Wessels told Pretoria-based Jacaranda FM: “It’s extraordinary, the documentary was about me being embraced and recognised as an Australian cricket legend and that was what the documentary was about. The match-fixing thing was literally a minute out of the interview.
“It was misconstrued, sensationalised as these things happen, but when you are in this position then I suppose you have to accept that from time to time it will happen, but it’s unfortunate.”
Wessels also made it clear that he had no problems with Cronje, who succeeded him as South Africa captain.
“I got on very well with Hansie when we were playing,” he said. “I thought he was an excellent captain, a very good player and I’m very close to his family as well so from my point of view I’ll never say anything derogatory about him.
“I think we all know it was a tragedy what happened and probably one of the saddest things that’s happened in South African cricket. So from that point of view, it’s just a pity that all this erupted out of all that, I’m still not quite sure how it happened.
“My last words on that brief part of the show was that he didn’t deserve what came his way… I’ve known Ewie and San-Marie – his parents – all my life, my parents were friends with them. Bloemfontein in those days was a small place, it’s a bit bigger these days but everybody was all pretty tight…
“Hopefully it’s all been put to bed now and people will understand that the whole interview had absolutely nothing to do with match fixing, it didn’t have anything to do with Hansie in that way either.”
Upon being asked why he didn’t share his concerns when Cronje was on trial, Wessels said: “I was next to testify at the King Commission and obviously I suppose those things would have all come out. I guess they would have asked me some other questions as well but before I could get there they closed the whole King Commission down so that was that.”