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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Leicestershire remember Cronje
Former South African captain Hansie Cronje
Cronje was Leicestershire's overseas player in 1995

Staff at English county club Leicestershire have offered their sympathy to the family of Hansie Cronje following the former South Africa captain's death in a plane crash.

Cronje was Leicestershire's overseas player in 1995, scoring more than 1,300 runs following an approach by coach Jack Birkenshaw, who had previously worked in South Africa for Free State.

"For me, he is one of the best cricketers I have ever been associated with. He did well for us and was a gent really," said Birkenshaw.

"I have never known anyone work harder at his game. He was dedicated and he was a top bloke."

Leicestershire secretary-manager James Whitaker, a former team-mate of Cronje's, also remembered the South African's time at Grace Road with affection.

Whitaker said: "We are absolutely devastated. It is just complete disbelief.

"He was a great player who was 100% committed to the club, and everyone enjoyed his company too.

"He was a great example to all professionals, especially the younger players."

Asked about Cronje's subsequent fall from grace after his involvement with illegal bookmakers, Whitaker insisted: "We must remember his highlights on the field.

"I hope he will be remembered for his inventiveness on the pitch and his cricket ability."


Cronje dies

The aftermath

Cronje profile

SPORTS TALK

IN PICTURES
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