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Marcus Prior reporting from Cape Town
"Judge King heads a commission that has been given wide-ranging powers"
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Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Woolmer backs Cronje recall
Bob Woolmer and Hansie Cronje
Woolmer and Cronje: Mutual respect
Former South African coach Bob Woolmer has called for sacked captain Hansie Cronje to be given a second chance.

Cronje was dropped from the national squad after admitting receiving money from a bookmaker for supplying match information, prompting the United Cricket Board of South Africa to order a full-scale inquiry.



He got too much power and felt invulnerable

Bob Woolmer

But Woolmer, now coach of English county side Warwickshire, has spoken out in support of 30-year-old Cronje, who he described as a "wonderful person".

"Hansie should be brought back into the fold as soon as possible," the Pretoria News quoted Woolmer as saying.

"Mark Waugh and Shane Warne were convicted of the same offence by the Australian Cricket Board and given a monetary fine. If Hansie has done the same as them why should we be any different?"

Waugh and Warne were fined for providing information during Australia's 1994 tour to Sri Lanka, but the ACB did not make details public until four years later.

Evidence

Woolmer has returned to South Africa to give evidence to the match-fixing inquiry, particularly about allegations that the team were asked to throw a match in India in December 1996, an offer which was turned down.

"Hansie was up and down in his mood swings. But he is a wonderful person and would never throw a match. From 1994 to 1999 he stepped onto the field with only one goal and that was to win," he told The Star newspaper.


Hansie Cronje
Cronje: A successful captain
"My view is that he fooled around with the bookies. When I say that I mean he would tease them.

"I just reckon that he dabbled too much and got caught. I would perceive that he got too much power and felt invulnerable."

Cronje has played in 68 Tests and 188 one-day internationals for South Africa and first captained his country in Australia at the age of only 24.

He will be the key witness at the inquiry, which is being conducted by Judge Edwin King.

Around 50 witnesses are expected to be called to attend the inquiry, which will focus on the 1996 tour to India and the period between November last year and April.

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See also:

02 Jun 00 | Cricket
Cronje blames Satan
30 May 00 | Cricket
Cronje could face police
13 Apr 00 | Cricket
Cronje: I always played to win
10 Apr 00 | Cricket
SA demand 'Cronje tapes'
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