22 JUNE 2002, Page 31

Cronje wasn't alone

From Mr Halvor Rosholt Sir: I am doubtful whether Michael Henderson's considered but selective piece (Sport, 8 June) on the tragic death of Hansie Cronje advances the debate regarding corruption in cricket, and Cronje's part in it. However, it does perhaps help to highlight the complexity of both the situation and the man.

We have read much of late of the complex nature of Hansie Cronje, and naturally enough, in a sports-mad society such as South Africa, where failure is not easily forgotten or forgiven, there has been a tendency to draw lines. On the one side are those who, as Henderson observes, refuse to accept the clear facts of Cronje's transgressions; on the other, those who vilify him without tempering their anger with understanding, let alone an acceptance of his flaws. Hypocrisy is rampant in both camps. Most of us, I suppose, are somewhere in the confused middle, hoping that we can read his name soon without the predictable qualifying phrase 'disgraced former captain' or some similar reminder. Most of us will, in time, forgive in order to remember the joy he gave us at a time when that was important to us in so many ways.

I think that Henderson does the subject a disservice by implying that 'the level of corruption within the South African game has never been fully discovered'. To quote him again, 'It was a rum do, all right', but I. along with many others, believe that more than a few people are off the hook, not because Cronje was ever likely to reveal their names or crimes, but because the International Cricket Council's investigation into betting in cricket revealed such a depth of corruption on the part of captains, players, umpires and administrators that to have pursued it to its right conclusion might have destroyed the game for ever. It also highlights the ICC's failure to police and deal with a situation which cannot possibly have been unknown to them.

Halvor Rosholt

Johannesburg, South Africa