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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Stop talking about Cronje, SA players warned

February 19, 2003 12:09 IST

South Africa cricket chiefs have warned Shaun Pollock's team to stop talking about disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje during their World Cup campaign.

"Some South Africa players should stop comparing the captaincy styles of Shaun Pollock and the late Hansie Cronje and rather get on with the job of winning World Cup matches," South Africa's United Cricket Board chief executive Gerald Majola was quoted as saying in Business Day newspaper on Wednesday.

"What we require now is total focus on the job at hand -- to win all the remaining matches in the round-robin stage of the cup," he added.

South Africa lost two of their first three World Cup Group B matches and need to win their next three to have a chance of progressing to the Super Six stage.

"Looking back at eras will not help this cause, cause especially when Shaun needs all the support he can get to lead us to victory," Majola said.

"I have spoken to (South Africa) coach Eric Simons and he assures me all the players are behind the captain, the team and the nation.

"Anything less will bring further disappointment to SA fans and the many officials who have done everything in their power to give the team all the preparation they need to win the cup."

South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs, speaking on Monday at the launch of his biography, said the team were still missing their former captain.

"Hansie's leadership skills made him an icon," Gibbs said. "We do miss him."

Majola said he would speak to Gibbs, but did not think his comments warranted further action.

"These players are young and sometimes they say things without thinking," Majola said.

Last month Jonty Rhodes, flanked by a nodding Allan Donald, had dedicated the 2003 World Cup to Cronje, calling him an "extra special person".

Gibbs, banned for six months for his involvement in the match-fixing affair in 2000, had made a similar pledge.

Cronje died in a plane crash in June, having been banned for life for his prominent role in cricket's recent match-fixing scandal.

Cronje admitted accepting $130,000 in bribes from bookmakers to influence international matches.

United Cricket Board president Percy Sonn, echoed by World Cup executive director Ali Bacher, has said players do not have the right to dedicate the cup to one person.

But not all the players have followed the same line.

Experienced South Africa batsman Gary Kirsten said this week he had no idea why some members of the squad continued to hark back to the days of Cronje.

"I haven't a clue -- you must ask individuals that," he said. "I certainly don't feel that. This team has done exceptionally well in tournaments since Hansie's cricket was over."

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