The cricketing world will soon witness the 10th death anniversary of Hansie Cronje at a time when the game is clouded by a tinge darker than mere grey. Cronje, who died in a plane crash on June 1, 2002 had admitted taking bribes from Indian bookmakers for information and match fixing. His admission in 2000 changed cricket forever. If a tough competitor like Cronje could do it, so could anyone, felt cricket lovers.
The former South African reformed and just when he had made peace with himself and God, tragedy struck. He left behind his wife and family which included elder brother Frans, who was very close to him. Frans has produced the movie ‘Hansie’ as well as a five-hour documentary on his brother. MiD DAY caught up with him for a brief chat in the wake of the India TV sting that has shown young Indian players being vulnerable to shady dealings.
Hansie was hounded by bookies to a point that they spoilt his sleep. As someone who had a good understanding of what your brother went through, how should young players deal with these temptations?
It helps to have older, experienced people in your life as mentors. These people can hold you accountable and guide you through difficult situations. I think since Hansie’s confessions, measures were taken to protect players. I hope that this is still done, but I am not sure.
By the way, I think administrators also need to be included in this protection method. Do you think player movements and interactions should be monitored more closely as a precautionary measure?
Yes, there should be official strategies in place to protect and monitor players and officials.
Having been a part of Hansie’s traumatic times, what role should the families of these cricketers play in helping the situation?
It cuts both ways. The families should support and protect players, but at the same time, players need to be honest with their families. One mistake Hansie made was to keep it all a secret from his wife and us as immediate family. I see too many men make the same mistake when they go through difficult times. Don’t keep secrets from your wife and family! Hansie also had a mentor in Peter Pollock In the end, Peter was instrumental in helping Hansie to rebuild his life, as was his wife and us as his family.
As Hansie’s 10 death anniversary draws near, what is your message to cricketers who are vulnerable to the lure of big bucks?
I am a Christian and therefore like to comment from our holy book, The Bible. It says that money is the root of all evil. Being a businessman and making money is not wrong, but serving money as a God and being greedy for gain at the expense of other people is evil and should be avoided at all cost. The Bible also says, “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul.”