Wednesday, April 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pollock takes over captaincy

DURBAN, April 11 (Reuters) — South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje today admitted that he had not been “entirely honest’’ in his denials of match-fixing in India and has been dropped from a one-day series against Australia.

Bronwyn Wilkinson, Communications Director for the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), told Reuters the board’s Managing Director Ali Bacher and President Percy Sonn had received a call from Cronje in the early hours of the morning.

“Hansie phoned myself and Mr Sonn at 3 a.m. this morning and told us that he had not been entirely honest with us regarding his involvement,’’ Bacher told the South African Press Association (SAPA).

“We immediately decided it would be in everybody’s best interests if he stood down from the series,’’ he said.

Cronje and team mates Nicky Boje, Herschelle Gibbs and Pieter Strydom were charged by the Indian police on Friday with “cheating, fraud and criminal conspiracy related to match-fixing and betting’’. Cronje has initially denied any involvement.

Wilkinson said the UCBSA had withdrawn 31-year-old Cronje, but not sacked him outright, for the three limited overs matches against Australia starting in Durban tomorrow.

Vice-captain Shaun Pollock has taken over the captaincy, with Cronje being replaced in the squad by eastern province veteran all-rounder Dave Callaghan.

Wilkinson said Bacher would address the squad at Kingsmead Ground in Durban and then hold a news conference at 3.00 p.m (7.30 p.m. IST).

“A lot of us were shocked. It is a blow for us and we just have to refocus. I am going to go out there and try and do the best job I can,’’ Pollock told Reuters at the ground.

“He (Cronje) is an integral part of the team and an always-reliable all-rounder. He is a top-class player and he is going to be a hard person to replace.

“There won’t be a shortage of motivation when you play against Australia. We will be missing Hansie, but I’m sure the guys will be able to motivate themselves,’’ he said.

Australia’s team manager Steve Bernard told Aap news agency in Durban that the match-fixing scandal had reduced the three-match series to a sideshow.

“People aren’t talking about the cricket. They are talking about this controversy. It is a shadow over the series. This takes some gloss away,’’ Bernard said.

Cronje, who has captained South Africa in 138 one-day internationals, of which he has won 99, was not available for comment.

He arrived at Cape Town airport around midday where he was due to meet Minister of Sport NgConde Balfour and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad and then issue a joint statement.

Balfour’s spokesman Graham Abrams told Reuters the government was stunned by Cronje’s admission.Back


Police stand vindicated
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 11 — The Delhi police today claimed that it had enough evidence apart from the tapes to charge the South African captain Hansie Cronje and four others in the multi-million dollar match-fixing case.

“We have other proofs to corroborate the tapes containing the conversation between Hansie and the main accused in the case Sanjay, alias Sanjeev Chawala,” the Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr Ajai Raj Sharma, told reporters here.

Reacting to Cronje’s admission of having been “dishonest” with the United Cricket Board of South Africa and his sacking from the team, Mr Sharma said: “It is a vindication of our stand.”

About the copy of the tapes requested by the South African Government, Mr Sharma said: “The tapes will be presented to the court and they will have to seek permission from the court to obtain a copy.”

As the tapes were a case property, the police has sealed it and they would be opened following the court directive.

When asked whether the police had carried out voice testing to confirm that the conversation between the South African captain and the London-based NRI bookie, Sanjay, the police chief said: “After hearing the tapes we were convinced that the voice belonged to Hansie. We have been hearing him on the TV.”

About the involvement of Indian players in the match fixing case, the Police Commissioner said: “During the course of investigation they have not so far come across the involvement of Indian players.”

However, he clarified that “if some evidence in this regard comes to light it would not be pushed behind the carpet.”

The Chairman and Managing Director of Kailash Hospital, Mr Mahesh Sharma, said a panel of four doctors examined him and they were of the opinion that “Kishan Kumar was not in a condition to take the stress of cross examination during questioning.”

Refuting allegations that the hospital was trying to shield the Bollywood actor, Mr Mahesh Sharma said: “We have suggested to the Delhi police and the Enforcement Directorate to send a medical panel from government hospital to examine him.”

Stating the condition of Kishan was not a cause for “serious concern”, the doctors said, “patients with such symptoms are normally discharged within 48 hours to 72 hours after they are brought out of ICU.”

The film star was admitted to the hospital on Friday and was shifted to the private ward on Monday.

The police said Kishan Kumar paid the hotel bills of Sanjay, who stayed in almost the same hotels where the South African team stayed during their tour of India.

The only person arrested in the case, Rajesh Kalra, had alleged that Kishan Kumar was involved in scandal and had paid large sums of money to Sanjay for betting.Back

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