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Now Gibbs comes clean as more skeletons tumble out

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    Now Gibbs comes clean as more skeletons tumble out

    Skeletons have begun tumbling out of the South African cricket cupboard rapidly as the King Commission probing the match-fixing allegations conducts its proceedings. On the second day of the hearings, batsman Herschelle Gibbs took everyone's breath away by confessing that he had agreed to lose his wicket for $ 15,000 during a one-day match between South Africa and India earlier this year.

    Gibbs said sacked captain Hansie Cronje had approached him before the match in India in March and said he could earn the money by going out for less than 20 runs. Gibbs said he went on to score 74 runs off 53 balls in the March 19 match and was not paid. He told the Commission he later lied to the United Cricket Board of South Africa about his involvement in the incident to protect Cronje.

    Test bowler Derek Crookes sprung another surprise by claiming that coach Graham Ford was party to some unusual tactical decisions during this particular tour of India.

    Crookes said after the first one-day international in February, he had discussed his bowling with Cronje and Ford ``and it was decided I would not open the bowling at any point during the rest of the series''. However, before the last game of the tour on March 15, Ford told him he would be opening the bowling. Ford took over as coach from Bob Woolmer late last year.

    ``I was surprised,'' Crookes said, adding he saw nothing sinister in the move since he had frequently opened the bowling for his province. ``Hansie said we had nothing to lose, so let's try something different.''

    Delhi Police had taped a conversation Cronje had with a bookmaker which referred to the unusual bowling line-up to be used in the game. Crookes did open the bowling against India and was hit for more than 50 runs in his opening six overs -- a very high score.

    Crookes also recalled how Cronje had approached him in 1996 and told him the team had been offered $ 250,000 to lose a game against India. He said he was completely opposed to accepting it. At a meeting before the match, the team decided to refuse the bribe.

    Yesterday, former cricketer Pat Symcox had testified that Cronje managed to get an extra $100,000 added to the $250,000 offer but the team never accepted it. Symcox had also said Cronje had approached him in 1995, asking him how he felt about a cash offer made to the team to lose a match against Pakistan. Symcox said he rejected it.

    Crookes said Cronje had told them that if the team accepted the offer no one else, including their wives, should be told. Though he corroborated the evidence given by Pat Symcox about the $-250,000 offer, his sequence of events differed in several respects.

    Crookes claimed there were two meetings while Symcox had said there had been one. Crookes also said he had been approached by Cronje on a flight to Mumbai the previous day and got the impression that Cronje had already spoken to several other players.

    Cronje had later advised the players to think about it overnight. At a meeting the next morning, on the day of the game, the offer had been rejected. Crookes said he, Hudson, Daryll Cullinan and David Richardson had led the Opposition to accepting the offer but he could not remember if anyone had been in favour. ``Hansie said we were either all in or all out. If one of us was out, we weren't going to do it.''

    Meanwhile, security consultant of the South African cricket board Rory Stein told the Commission that Cronje had broken down before him in April, ahead of a match against Australia in Durban, and confessed to have accepted money to fix matches.

    ``Cronje called me to his hotel room on April 11 at two in the morning. He was in an emotional mood and broke down and cried two or three times while discussing his statement,'' Stein, one-time bodyguard of former President Nelson Mandela, said.

    ``He told me he was coming clean for three reasons -- he was being eaten up by lies; the pressure was unfair on his family; and the other players mentioned in the alleged transcripts of conversations were innocent and he needed to clear their names.''

    ``I got the distinct impression that he thought I was still a serving police officer and he was handing himself in,'' said Stein. Cronje was sacked as captain later the same day.

    ``He handed me a statement which I assumed to be in his handwriting. He said I may have guessed that he had not been entirely honest and that some of what was in the media was true. He had decided to write a statement and come clean,'' he said.

    You know what's the most shocking thing after this episode has unfolded. The fact that almost all the ppl being linked (guilty or not) are some of the best representatives or supremely gifted plarers of their time.

    Salim Malik- a superb Test batsman with wonderful technique.

    Hansie Cronje- (before the scandal) a 'true' Cricket Ambasador.

    Wasim Akram- the greatest left arm bowler in the history of the game.

    Herschelle Gibbs- a multi-sport player, with amazing fielding ability, was slowly gaining the reputation to be better than Rhodes.

    Kapil Dev- one of the prime crickeers of his era, and probably the only superstar bowler India has ever produced.

    Very disappointing.


      We don't know yet about Wasim & Kapil.
      They are innocent unless proven guilty.


        Reading i somehow thought kapil is guity, perhaps also jadeja, azhar, mongia. They have fooled us all for plenty of years.
        And I am sure, groundsmen, umpires, match referees, the non playing guys could also be in these things.

        [This message has been edited by ZZ (edited June 11, 2000).]


          I know Elgancia, I said those being linked, whether guilty or not.


            oops sorry i meant

            [This message has been edited by ZZ (edited June 11, 2000).]