From Hansie Cronje to Alviro Petersen, why South African cricket is in a fix
South African cricket was marred with yet another scandal when former opening batsman Alviro Petersen was handed a two-year ban after agreeing to a plea bargain with Cricket South Africa on Wednesday.
As prolific as the Proteas have been on field over the past two decades, corruption scandals, match-fixing and such cases have been a constant blotch on the South African side.
Petersen, a veteran of 36 Tests for South Africa, was the sixth cricketer to be banned following a corruption scandal that also led to former cricketer Gulam Bodi getting banned for 20 years. While Bodi was charged for attempting to fix matches during South Africa’s 2014-15 domestic T20 season, Petersen has been charged for not reporting his meeting with bookies and such activities by other players, destroying and concealing evidences and not cooperating with investigators.
“I now deeply regret having participated in these meetings and not to have immediately reported them to the authorities as I am obliged to do,” Petersen said in the CSA statement. “I understand that I need to take personal responsibility for my actions and I accept the punishment that CSA has imposed on me. I hope that other players will learn from my experience and be better prepared if they find themselves in the situation that I was in.”
The other four — Thami Tsolekile, Jean Symes, Pumelela Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati — have all been banned from the game for seven to 12 years.
The scandal has also brought back memories of the infamous incident of Hansie Cronje being involved in a match fixing scandal back in 2000 when Delhi police released a few transcripts of an alleged conversation between the South African captain and a bookie. The conversation also included names of Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom and Nicky Boje. Two days after the charges, Cronje slammed the allegations as baseless and stated he didn’t receive any money. However, another two days later, he admitted that he wasn’t entirely honest. Soon after, Gibbs, Henry Williams and a few other players admitted that they were approached by Cronje for underperforming. Cronje lost his captaincy and announced his retirement after agreeing to the charges levelled against him.
Gibbs and Williams were banned until December 31, 2000 while Cronje was handed a life ban by the United Cricket Board of South Africa. He later died in a plane crash in 2002.