South African cricketer who played for his country in 68 Tests, 53 as captain. He established himself as a free-scoring top-order batsman and a useful medium-pace bowler. Having lost his first two Tests as captain, he then led his country to five consecutive victories. He led his provincial side Free State to seven domestic titles in six years but relinquished the captaincy at the end of the 1995–96 season due to international commitments. He also played for English county side Leicestershire in 1995. Cronje received a life ban from cricket in October 2000 after admitting that he had received around US$100,000 from bookmakers in dealings going back to January 1995, although he denied that he had actually fixed matches.
Test cricket (1992–2000) appearances: 68; batting: runs: 3,714; average: 36.41; not out: 9; 100s: 6; best: 135 (v. India 1992); bowling: overs: 633.2; wickets: 43; runs: 1,288; average: 29.95; best: 3–14 (v. Zimbabwe 1999); catches: 33
One-day internationals (1992–2000) appearances: 188; batting: runs: 5,565; average: 38.64; not out: 31; 100s: 2; best: 112 (v. Australia 1994); bowling: overs: 892.2; wickets: 114; runs: 3,966; average: 34.78; best: 5–32 (v. India 1992); catches: 73
All first-class cricket (1987–2000) appearances: 184; batting: runs: 12,103; average: 43.69; not out: 33; 100s: 32; best: 251 (v. Australia 1994); bowling: overs: 1,649.3; wickets: 116; runs: 3,995; average: 34.43; best: 4–47; catches: 121
The Cronje scandal In April 2000, international cricket was plunged into a crisis, after allegations were made in India that Cronje and team-mates Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom, and Nicky Boje had been involved in a match-fixing conspiracy with an Indian bookmaker.
On 7 April, Indian police investigating the alleged fixing of a One-day international series between India and South Africa, which had taken place in the preceding month, charged Cronje, Gibbs, Strydom, and Boje in their absence with fraud and conspiracy, and released transcripts of bugged telephone conversations in which Cronje and an Indian businessman discussed match-fixing in detail.
Cronje at first dismissed the allegations out of hand, but on 11 April he admitted that he had received US$10–15,000 in cash from a London-based Indian bookmaker for giving information on playing conditions and for match forecasting relating to the One-day triangular tournament between England, South Africa, and Zimbabwe in January–February 2000, but emphatically denied that he had conspired to fix matches. He also denied that any of his team-mates had been involved in any way. However, in June, Gibbs, Strydom, and Henry Williams told the King Commission of Inquiry, established in Cape Town to investigate the match-fixing allegations, that they had been offered money by Cronje to underperform in certain matches on South Africa's tour of the Indian sub continent in February and March 2000. (Boje denied that he had been approached by Cronje). Williams and Gibbs also admitted that they had accepted offers of US$15,000 to play badly and that they had previously lied in order to protect Cronje.
Cronje was banned from the sport for life in 2000, while Williams and Gibbs received six-month bans from international cricket. Despite unsuccessfully attempting to have this ban overturned in court in 2001, it was widely believed that Cronje would be allowed to re-enter the game at some point in the future, but he died in a plane crash in June 2002.