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Sunday, 23 April, 2000, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Is cricket tarnished beyond repair?
Can cricket, traditionally the most gentlemanly of sports, survive the latest damaging accusations? Or is the game tarnished beyond repair?
We are discussing the future of cricket today on the World Service's Talking Point LIVE, at 1400 GMT (1500BST).
Call us NOW on +44 20 7379 7444 to join the live debate or email us with your comments.
K.S.Balachandran, Canada/Sri Lanka
I think its about time that the South African Cricket Committee stopped trying to deflect comment about their own nasty mess by insinuating corruption elsewhere. If they knew about the World Cup, they should have reported it at the time. Get your own house in order before you start rubbishing everyone else!
The Hanse Cronje corruption case just goes to show how competitive sport, not just cricket, has been dominated by personal greed. People are no longer in sport for the sake of entertainment, but to make more money even when they already have enough.
It is perhaps the ICC that is more in crisis than cricket itself. When the Mark Waugh and Shane Warne incident was revealed some two years after the event why did the ICC not take any action against the ACB for not revealing the incident to them and the rest of the world at the time but dealing with it quietly as they wished.
While Hanse Cronje, at the moment, takes the heat for cricket cheats, it would be prudent to assume that players are not the only ones involved. Ever wondered where some of those really rough decisions that change the course of a test come from, and why?
The game has lost all its glory. It would be really painful if somebody said the semi-final between South Africa and Australia was fixed. I think it would take quite a while in resurrecting the game which is in dire straits. Whoever, is convicted has literally sold his country for money and should be punished to the maximum extent possible.
I do not think that cricket would die away because of this scandal. The game is loved too much by too many for that to happen. For every kid who grows up in the sub-continent cricket is a way of life. The game is at it's purest form. Players who opt to take bribes should first consider that.
Asif Ashraf, England
The TCCB and the International test authorities should seek via the law courts to ban all betting on Cricket for the next 12 months until this entire miserably episode has been thoroughly investigated. The Bookmaker in the Cronje affair needs to be brought to book ASAP, along with all the other culprits. This affair should not be treated lightly.
I think any cricketer who is found guilty in such case should be banned from playing International cricket for his whole life, that is the justice if he is using his talent the wrong way.
Hansie Cronje was brave to admit to his guilt and he should be forgiven. He is a great cricketer and a captain.
Craig Harry, England
Since new evidence also confirms that South Africans were not foreigner to match fixing, and in that way if you look at the close finished matches which involved South Africa now, you really wonder whether they lost under the "Match Pressure or Money Pressure".
Hansie Cronje has only one way
of surviving in international
cricket arena. That is to become
an Australian, agree to play for
Australia, let ACB take a share
of his match-fixing bribe in the
form of a fine and admit to
have been STUPID and NAIVE.
This tactic has already proven to
be very effective.
Asif Ali, USA
Is Hansie acting as the "fall guy" to cover up for someone higher up in the SA cricket hierarchy? This whole episode stinks of rotten fish!
Shed no tears. One jerk gone, several more to go. Long live Cricket, the honest way. Hail Indian Police for a good job no one on earth ever dared or cared to do!
Why don't the cricket authorities recognise that there is bent money in cricket and use this opportunity to clean the game up once and for all. NO it will not harm cricket, it could make cricket even better!
A wolf in sheep's clothing! The fact that the official SA Cricket board engaged mud slinging on the great work done by the Indian Police, and backed "Hansie the great" makes one suspect there are other wolves in the cricket board itself. Dig in more, Delhi police! Bring out all the satans!
I just wonder how people can be so "blind" in supporting a person who can sell the prestige of his nation?
Alan Cooke, UK
Bring to light the Indian players involved in betting. The Indian authorities should not highlight themselves to be heroes in the eyes of the world by pinning down Crojne. There are others too, complete your task.
The solution is to ban the one day cricket for at least a year and hold a full scale international inquiry of the players allegedly involved in this practice and ban them for good. Cricket is ashamed of such miscreants and so are the fans.
Gohar Latif, Pakistan
What has happened is a shameful event for the entire cricketing world. But is time to clean up the game. Hansie Cronje has done a lot of good for the game of cricket. To punish him severely as to ban him from playing cricket would a big mistake. Like all others who have admitted, I believe Hansie Cronje deserves another chance, another opportunity.
Cricket will survive, but this should act as a wake up call to the game's administrators. This is symptomatic of what happens when sport becomes big business. Cricket, like Rugby has been poorly administered and the ICC should consider it's own position in light of the Cronje incident.
Michael H, UK
At last it is the white man who is the culprit in
this game. All the chucking allegations on
the players from the subcontinent were never
proven. But their careers were destroyed, and
the reputation of the players tarnished. Now
whenever players from Australia or SA play,
people will always be suspicious. For once
the snake got bitten by it's own kind.
I am of the view that enthusiasm for cricket being so great especially in the younger generation, the game will survive the present crisis after a clean-up operation.
Derek Taylor, England
Well only a couple of things first of all the guilty have to be punished...really does not matter if that person is "Hansie Cronje".
Secondly it smacks of racial lines being drawn in cricket where everyone from the subcontinent gets castigated and everyone from anywhere else e.g. Australia, South Africa get let off as they only "provided information about the pitch which does affect the game"
After quite a turbulent week in international cricket, it seems that only Hansie Cronje himself knows the real facts. I think the world should wait till a thorough investigation has taken place before making a judgement.
What Hansie Cronje did was wrong, but from what he himself has said, it seems that it is no worse than the earlier incident involving Mark Waugh and Shane Warne of Australia.
Venkataraman R, India, Chennai
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Indian police for their sincerity, courage. Hats of Indian Police for making the culprits face the inquiry especially when police in other countries failed to do so. Had the police in other countries done the same it would not have come to this stage. But this is a needed development. It will surely make the cricket "gentle men's game".
Why is it that whenever Australia is about to play a tough series, something comes up in the cricket world? Either it is someone offering bribes to the Aussies or some bowler chucking and now this Hansie being suspended for forecasting some match. If I remember correctly, weren't two Australians just fined for the same offence by their board? Come on ICC wake up and make some rules that are applicable to all the cricket nations. Don't let the Boards do what ever they want do, make them do what is right.
I am glad that the Indian cops nailed this guy, Cronje. It appeared very surprising that the SA establishment doubted the tapes/investigation and everything else about the case from India. And then they said Cronje deceived them. But they still seem to believe that the other three players are not involved, because Cronje said so!
It would be surprising if corruption did not exist in most sports which have prime-time coverage by SKY TV. Perhaps the sport-loving Mr. Murdoch will refuse to cover teams found guilty of corruption?
I feel sad that players like Cronje, whom we all held in highest esteem, can shatter our faith. Whom to believe now? But he has been sincere and accepted his mistakes. I pray Indian players, involved in such shady deals, will display the same courage now and will accept their guilt.
Saying that cricket as a game is in crisis is, I think, very misleading. Though under appreciated in England, the sport remains one of the most popular around the world, and that won't change. After all, no one is suggesting that the popularity of football is threatened by the current Nottingham Forrest law suit against a referee who confessed to fixing a European cup match.
Most Pakistanis don't trust any Indian claims but this time they proved that sometimes they are right. However, I think this scandal will either clean up cricket or it will same as before and the only change will be is that they will be more careful next time and demand more money for the risks they are taking.
Hansie should spend rest of his life teaching cricket to subcontinent kids, whose enthusiasm is keeping cricket alive. That is the only way for him to undo his mistake.
As a fan of Hansie I cannot come to terms with what has happened.
So much is out of "character", Hansie did not need the money. Also there are so many out of context issues: Do police just stumble upon conversations?
We might as well ignore the new issue of that noble publication Wisden insofar as it reports international matches, for unbeknown to the editors and to the rest of us many could have been fixed. Imran Khan is absolutely right, we should have an independent, global enquiry into this, and let's bring in someone respected from outside the game, a statesman or a judge who is impartial and will be firm. It's very depressing.
Michael Slade, UK
I fail to understand how Hansie could even think of accepting any money, this is a highly respected man, of integrity. Anyway I suppose it's time to expose everything, it's a shame though for South African cricket, which was undoubtedly the BEST CRICKET TEAM IN THE WORLD!!!!!
I don't think he should have been sacked. I give my full support to Hansie and I am sure this is probably the first time he has done this. All I want to know if WHY did he do it? Personally I think he was set up.
This is the first time that "match fixing" has taken place and someone's been caught. Every sport has its problems, just because Cricket has got a reputation for being an "upper class" sport (which is nonsense) this is being blown out of all proportion.
By sledging. By blatant cheating on-pitch.
By win at all costs (including integrity).
By ponderously slow reactions by those in control to changing circumstances.
By woefully inept organisation.
The recent events neither surprised, nor saddened me. They are simply a reflection of the current values of cricket.
It beats me how people can get so wound up about a game which is the only rival to the World Glue Drying Championships!
What about the sharks?
Even Shane Warne and Mark Waugh
have done the same thing in past and
when they can be excused, why can't
we excuse Hansie???
Daniel Ellis, England
Let's not hope that yet another media trial is sweeping us. Cricket always gives the benefit of the doubt. Give the guy a break until he is proven guilty.
In Hansie Cronje I found a sporting hero - my faith in human nature has been scuppered.
I feel that there is more to this than what we have been told so far. I cannot believe that Hansie would have done what he is accused of for such a paltry amount - he may be naive and gullible but I can't believe he is stupid.
Simone Robinson, South Africa
It is agreed that what Hansie did was bad. But, my question is "IS only Hansie responsible for this?". The ICC, and other cricket boards (especially Indian & Pakistan) knew about match fixing stuff for 10 years. Aren't they responsible for not taking any actions
Ban Hansie for Life!
It was too premature of us in SA to doubt the competence of an Indian investigating agency. We have been let down. Is Hansie trying to escape saying he only provided information on the players and pitch?
Cricket has probably changed beyond retreat (i.e. going back). The South African scandal may hurt the people involved but the publicity may benefit Cricket; you never know. It's a great game, one of the best ever conceived by man, and as long as it remains a challenge men will play it. Anyway, what's the alternative? Replace it with Baseball, ugh!
Once again gambling has surfaced in the world of cricket. It's not a new problem. It was always around. Remember accusations against Pakistan, Australia & India?
The game is bigger than the player. Baseball survived the Black sox scandal and Pete Rose betting. Cricket will survive Hansie Cronje. What surprises me however, is the amount of money he accepted. A lousy $15,000 US. Are our cricketers, even someone as popular as Cronje, paid so little that such a small amount would cause a man to even contemplate throwing a game?
John Marshall, Australia
I completely agree with Vijay Ojha. I really hope that this incident will wane interest in a sport that has completely engulfed the Indian psyche. Other sports like soccer, hockey and basketball will hopefully receive encouragement. The earlier the demise of this "pseudo-sport" that has extolled a lot of our time and energy the better. Cricket is dead. Long live the "gentlemen"
The Indian Police is vindicated by subsequent developments. Cronje's own admission of guilt is sufficient. However there may be others who would adopt the now familiar tactics of interpretation, Accepting the money: forecasting" and the fact he has kept the money but "did not deposit it" etc will be used in the best Clintonian tactics. One does not have to go to Yale Law School.
Whatever happens, the saddest thing happened: They branded Indian Police as inefficient; they went to the extent of saying the tapes were doctored; and finally the call came for snapping ties with India!
How pathetic that even after apartheid has been formally disbanded in South Africa, the response from the good old "white folks" there has been one to criticise first the Delhi police and then question the tapping of phones. Even now there is disappointment but not appreciation for the way the "non-white" police in Delhi have handled this affair. I say hats off to the Indian authorities to nail down the culprit, albeit a "super white man" Cronje.
I feel that ICC should have more control over the game. They are the weakest body among all sports governing authorities. Also, there should be a limit on number of ODIs. There are so many irrelevant matches played nowadays. ICC should also go ahead with its proposed plan of test world cup because who knows this might spread to test matches too.
Time will heal the wounds on a classic game like cricket.
One should only hope that the greed for dishonest money will vanish in any kind of sport in the near future.
Martin Paul, South Africa
For shame, Hansie Conned-you! What I find
more shameful are the reports on BBC
yesterday (4/11/00) extolling Hansie's
honesty, integrity and Christianity - And
this AFTER he had admitted being dishonest!
As long as this "good old boy" attitude
survives, cricket is doomed. Clean it up.
Let not cads and bounders retain their
caps just because their name happen
to be Waugh or Warne or Cronje. Roll a
few heads to send the message. Permanent
disqualification is essential. Kick the
rogues OUT of the gentleman's game.
It just beat's me "The Confession of Hansie Cronje" - Why blow the lid so fast - is he trying to save the other 3 team-mates.
All in all - I will say that he has the guts to stand up and face the music.
He was a true captain in good times and now in this crises.
Forget the world - He is and will always be my favourite player.
Who cares? We are only talking about a deathly dull "sport" which 99% of the world has no interest in. The newspaper space given over to this incident is quite unbelievable, especially considering the real corruption which is rife in the African continent and is causing people untold hardship.
Ravi, Virginia, USA
I feel desperately sorry for SA cricket, However, what can be said is well done at finding and rooting out the seeds of deception. At least this will pave the way for future investigations and send a clear message that even the greatest can not get away with this sort of thing
For one the comments posted above from one Mr Vijay Ojha are particularly disturbing. Sport - people view the watching world over not as a waste of time. In fact sports are an expression of faith, beliefs desires and intentions. It seems my dear friends truly does not like sport of any kind
Rajeev A, USA/India
No doubt cricket has lost its flavour due to this incidence, but it's such a huge game, it is capable of surviving many such types of shocks.
Once the culprits are brought to justice the game will regain its status.
Everybody has their price, but $15k is pathetic! Mine's $20MM on a one-time only opportunity! As I am most unlikely to be presented with an opportunity, I think I'll just stay honest ... less trouble in the long run.
Cricket will recover!
The game is DEAD! And death is beyond repair...
Hansie Cronje, if proven guilty of accepting bribes, should never play cricket again. However if he has accepted money for giving information he is a fool, yes, but should not have to shoulder such a burden. The ICC must have a full, open enquiry.
Dr S.Sridhar, USA
I would just like to say that the reporting
of this whole affair has been extremely biased.
Before Hansie Cronje's admission, media
reports in the West (and SA) assumed that
it had to be a hoax or a mix up by the Indian
police with some less than complimentary
attacks on them and Indians in general by
certain sections in South Africa (we all know
who they are!).
South Africa is the crime capital of the world, and it is strange that the whole world seems surprised when a South African commits the crime this 30-year-old sportsman has committed. The only question is whether the comical run-out in the WC Semi-final including Kleusener & Donald was genuine?
The authorities should seize on this opportunity to implement radical measures to ensure that such irregularities are not repeated within the game of cricket. I think another factor that needs to be considered is the volume of cricket being played, it appears that the current high workloads on all international players is beginning to exhibit adverse effects. What we need is quality not quantity, and this needs to be properly addressed by the ICC.
Asif Khan, England
I believe this is a god sent opportunity to India. By conservative estimates, 400 million Indians are affected when a cricket match is played. They are either hooked to their TV sets, radio or the Internet. Now they know it is not about excitement any more and they are witnessing a drama, scripted by few punters. I believe that a minimum of 200 million Indians will lose interest, therefore, 200m X 8 = 1600m i.e. 1.6 billion person-hours a day could be channelled to other constructive activities.
Additionally, the game's highest authorities must clarify the rules regarding the role of players, coaches and umpires who are paid as "experts and consultants" to outside agencies. Serious times call for serious measures.
Karl Newson, England
Cricket shall survive even this. There have been allegations at times that certain matches are or have been fixed. This time it has been more focused and the truth has been stumbled upon. In spite of this cricket lovers will continue to take interest in the game since it is said that old habits die hard.
Hats off to Delhi police for having the courage to stand behind their discovery. Shame to the media and the press for siding with people who are always given the benefit of doubt and made a star by them. Time not to clean up and not cover up
When a white man accuses some Pakistani team members of similar crimes, those allegations are true before the investigations were complete. When an Asian country accuses a white man of the same, the other white players talk of nothing but the accused man's integrity?
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12 Apr 00 | Cricket
Cricket inquiry into Cronje scandal
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