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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Q&A: Hansie Cronje appeal
Hansie Cronje is preparing to appeal against his life ban for match-fixing.
South African cricket journalist Neil Manthorp answers your questions on the latest developments.
Hansie Cronje's career looked to be over when he was banned for life by the United Cricket Board for match-fixing.
At the time the ban was imposed, Cronje was not given a full hearing by the UCB.
This was a formality that should have been adhered to and which may result in the ban being dismissed.
His former club, Orange Free State, have delayed announcing their captain for the coming year - a move seen by some as anticipating a successful appeal.
But Cronje's lawyer has stated that he will not return to representative cricket if cleared.
South African cricket journalist Neil Manthorp answers your questions on the Cronje case.
Ian Rawlins, Bermuda
If the ban is lifted, what kind of example is it setting in cricket? Do we let the players run the game of cricket or is there going to be rules and guidelines to follow in order for things like this not to happen again.
The first thing to clarify is the difference between cricket issues and those that relate to the law. We'd all like to believe that the law is there to protect us and if we are tried for anything, we would be able to present our own case, defend ourselves and have a fair hearing. That isn't the case with Hansie Cronje. The UCB president Percy Sonn decided unilaterally to impose the ban and however much of a formality is should have been to give Cronje the hearing, it wasn't done and it should have been.
As far as cricket is concerned, there will be a lot of people around the world who find the idea, at best, disappointing and, at worst, abhorrent that Cronje could be back after serving no more than one and a half years of a life ban. But it is a matter of law first and foremost.
Roger Simons, England
Assuming Cronje is allowed to play cricket again, how long will it take the UCB to have a hearing and possibly ban him again?
Once again, it's a matter of the law finding it's way to a rightful and judicial conclusion, which can take a long time. As far as the lawyers I have spoken to are concerned, the most optimistic estimate was three months but a more realistic estimate appears to be between six months and a year. This time, everyone will have to be doubly sensitive and careful about following the correct procedures and there will be appeal after appeal. It could take a year, or more.
Nadeem Akhtar, India
Assuming that Cronje's ban is lifted, how are the South African cricket fans expected to react of Orange Free State makes him the captain again? I believe that he has brought the game into such disrepute that he can't win the support of the public again.
The Free State and South African public will be very easily won over by Hansie Cronje. It's the cricketing public and the rest of the world who aren't as close to the former captain and will never really experienced the kind of esteem in which he was held before his dramatic fall from grace. There is a strong feeling in South Africa that it is the country of forgiveness and reconciliation. As many South Africans will point out, crime is far worse than match-fixing in sport.
The second aspect is with regard to other international players who have come under the murky shadow of match-fixing and were mentioned by MK Gupta. Since his refusal to operate with Sir Paul Condon's anti-corruption unit, they have subsequently been pardoned without so much, it would appear, as a thorough questioning session. There is a feeling that Cronje has been victimised and he is the one taking the fall for a lot of the players involved. That in itself evokes a lot of sympathy for Hansie Cronje.
Peter, South Africa
If Cronje's ban is lifted, what does that mean for other international players banned by their respective cricket boards?
Mohammad Azharuddin and Salim Malik, the former captains of India and Pakistan, are both appealing their life bans as well and it's a question of whether the correct procedures were followed. It is really a technicality on which Cronje may win his case. The problem is that the game is run very much by the national boards in the countries, so as far as Hansie Cronje setting a precedent for other international players, it doesn't really follow.
It was the United Cricket Board of South Africa that banned Hansie Cronje, it was the Board of Control for Cricket in India that banned Mohammad Azharuddin and it was the Pakistan Cricket Board that banned Salim Malik. The ICC rubber-stamped the bans but it wasn't them that actually imposed them. Mohammad Azharuddin and Salim Malik may take heart from the imminent lifting of Cronje's ban but I don't think it will really have any effect.
Will, South Africa
What impact does this have on the punishment imposed on Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams for their part in the match-fixing saga? Do they have any chance of winning compensation for their time out of cricket?
Herschelle Gibbs has been in enough hot water subsequent to his six-month ban after admitting smoking cannabis in the West Indies, so he will do anything to keep his name out of the headlines at the moment. As for Henry Williams, it may well be an option he may seriously consider. But knowing him, I very much doubt he would be interested in seeking compensation. The bottom line with both these players is that they admitted doing wrong, they admitted accepting, in principal, a bribe from Cronje, although they never actually received the money. These two men have accepted their punishment and I don't suspect that can of worms will be re-opened.
Mark Bernstein, UK
Cronje's lawyer says he will not return to representative cricket if cleared. But if he did, who would he play for?
Free State would be his first choice, but there are a number of up-and-coming provinces in South Africa. Easterns are a very ambitious, small club that appear to have some funding and have poached some big-name players. To me, the interesting point about his lawyer's statement, is far from putting the fire out, it only serves to confirm the fire is still raging.
He may well say Hansie won't play again but in the same statement he also said that Hansie will not be lost to cricket and South Africa will benefit enormously from Cronje's commentating and coaching. If he returns to coaching it is the first step to putting the whites on and get out on the field.
If the ban is lifted does that allow Cronje to coach young players and possibly infect young minds with his way of cricket?
It's a subject that causes a great deal of concern. One has to accept that people do change and Cronje has expressed remorse for, as he famously termed it, his "unfortunate love of money". If he has that under control, he was, and perhaps I should be saying is an immensely talented cricketer. The fact that he has spoken about the UCB ban, preventing him from coaching disadvantaged and disabled children, means he hasn't checked with them.
Although the executive board of the UCB have banned him for life, they could never ban him from doing charitable work of that nature because it would be a public relations suicide mission. They have said privately he is free to carry on with activities as such. Their concern was at senior school and first-class level in that he should not make a living from the game he brought into disrepute so badly.
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