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December 3, 2001

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Cronje is still my hero, says Rudolph

Uncapped South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph said disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje was still his hero, despite his life ban for match-fixing.

"I still see him as a role model for myself," the 20-year-old told reporters on Monday at a team training session.

"I think his experience over the last couple of years has been brilliant, despite of what he's done.

"I thought he was a very good cricketer and a good leader for South Africa.

"There's no need linger over what has happened. I think it's something of the past.

"If we can just focus on the job at hand at this moment, I think that's the way to go."

Asked if Cronje should be allowed back into the fold of South African cricket, Rudolph added: "I don't know. I don't think it's in my hands to say."

South Africa arrived in Perth on Sunday for a three-Test series against world number one team Australia.

Rudolph, a left-handed batsman from Northerns Titans who bowls right-arm leg-spin, has not played a Test but scored 21 runs in the controversial unofficial Test against India at Centurion Park last week which South Africa won by an innings and 73 runs.

Rudolph said he would take an uncomplicated approach to facing Australia's highly-rated pace attack of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee.

"Obviously Australia have a top bowling lineup but I think if we can just see it as just another red ball coming our way, I don't think it will be any problems," Rudolph said.

"We've got a lot of respect for them (Australia) and like I said, we're ready."

The first Test starts in Adelaide on December 14.

Mail Cricket Editor

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