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Match-fixing: Aussies should clean up their act first

By Andrew Jayasinghe

WHAT a sad day for international cricket. Hanse Cronje one of the most respected cricketers on the international scene and an idol has fallen. While the Western world reacted with incredulity when the scandal broke and thought the Indian police had been hoaxed, I detected something different in this one. There were cops involved rather than the usual "He said I said" allegations which accompanied the Pakistani fixing claims. The innuendo from the Western press was clear. How could the Indians be trusted to be capable to run a proper investigation? Even though I am a Sri Lankan (not really Indian) I found this supremely insulting. Do they know that most of the high technology stuff the Western world is using has software written at least in part by Indians? Well, any way back to cricket.

Hanse Cronje was totally unconvincing in his denials. Actually he never denied any thing he was really accused of. He answered questions he was never asked. To me this was a tacit admission of guilt. He realized he had been caught in the proverbial jam jar with the hand in it. It was no great surprise that that his great God-fearing morality woke him up to confess to his pastor at the ungodly hour of 2am. Well, if he did not he would have been caught anyway. It would have put him in the situation that none of his denials would have been given any credence. As it is, he was at least able to get his cronies off lightly. Now the UCB has believed his and the other players denials and took action only to drop him.

The weakened rand and mishandling of the racial quota system are seen as reasons for his betrayal of the game. Well, in his shoes I can see where he is coming from. He is a kid who grew up in the heyday of apartheid. The social order he knew has fallen down around him and the domination of the whites is not accepted any more. It has been known that he was disillusioned that the black cricketers were been given a leg up in selection by the government after being discriminated against for so long. It is more a thing that they have to get used to than they would like to. I am sure that the events taking palace in Zimbabwe will play heavily in his mind too. May be he thought it would be a good idea to make a quick buck and migrate to Australia or England after the end of his career which is only a few years away.

It surprised me to know that the South African team dedicated their win against the Aussies to a disgraced Hanse. While it is more than possible that they love and respect the former skipper, I for one would have been pretty upset to know that while I was trying my damndest to win the cricket match my skipper was making a quick buck being on the take and adjusting scores. This of course would be true if I was not in on it. I have not played in a cricket team for a while since my days in school but I don't think human nature has changed that much. As many recognise now, I think Hanse is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to follow and not just the named three. I do believe that there is only physical evidence against Hanse so the others may get away this time as well.

While it is tragic for their cricket it must be said the South Africans have acted with a full sense of propriety. While he knew nothing else, Dr Ali Bacher was a staunch defender of his captain . The moment he has news that his belief was not true he was not afraid to take the strongest possible action. He did not care that the "revenge series" against the Aussies was only a day away. He knew that the game was more important than winning.

How I wish that that the Australians had the same ethics as well. When they had Shane Warne and Mark Waugh admitting to taking bribes for pitch information the ACB covered the issue up till it was dug up by some reporter. They were fined petty cash and were not even dropped for one match, Clearly the ACB thought that by doing so they will lose Australian dominance in cricket. Therein came the action which made individuals greater than the game. The South African public can be forgiven for expecting the same leniency for their skipper.

The Australian press has been extremely vocal in asking for greater punishment for Hanse Cronje.

Well, I think if they had they had taken out the snakes from their own back yard instead of feeding them rats to make them fat, there would not be a global snake problem now !