A Decade After Cronje Gate




Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje

It has now been decade when the Cronje gate appeared and it changed the context of the gentleman’s game aka cricket. However the whiff of match fixing that got associated with the game of cricket since then has become like Betal of Vikram and Betal which refuses to leave the shoulders of cricket, and every time that it sits on the shoulders a new story of match fixing gets into circulation. Surprisingly enough, South Africa, the country which was at the centre of allegations of match fixing has now come clean while Pakistan has emerged as the country, which continues to hurtle from one match fixing precipice to another, every such incident eroding its credibility.

Most serious dent to Pakistan image was however the murder of Bob Woolmer, which was darkest moments in the world of cricket, and cricket, may have ignored him, but it is one scar that would always haunt gentleman’s game.

The stigma of match fixing indeed has come to stick to the game of cricket after introduction of money. Incidentally, game of cricket has stories of match fixing from the times of Sir W G Grace. There is a famous anecdote that an umpire had declared Sir Grace out, and he walked up to the umpire and admonished him that the spectators had not paid money to watch his umpiring, but the batting of Sir Grace. As a matter of fact, in India, when cricket was a part of the princely states, the princes never used to be given out, and this could be construed as the early stage of match fixing, but as cricket was amateur in nature it all was taken in good humor. In the present times, where money rules roost, controversies about match fixing start circulating every time an unexpected happens, latest example being Pakistan cricket team being bundled out for paltry 74 runs in their test series against England.

If one can recollect Cronje gate had happened partially owing to infusion of technology, Cronje carrying an ear plug on to the field and chatting with Bob Woolmer about the progress of the game. It was a vigilant commentator who pointed out about the piece of jewelry worn by Cronje that forced him to remove it.

Now in the present circumstances, it is high time that more and more reliance on technology is resorted to, to limit the human mood changes to interfere in the game of cricket. Devices are available, what is required is intent, and for the game of cricket to survive and prosper this is the requiem.

By: Suman Rai

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