Thatscricket- Cricket News - SA daily names Cronje as 'Skelm of the Year'

Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2001, 17:30 [IST]
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Cape Town: South Africans are laughing away at the annual sports awards, some of them irreverent, announced by one of the country's newspapers, 'The Cape Argus'. Among those making the irreverent awards list were many cricket figures as well, including now banned captain Hansie Cronje, who was described as "Skelm of the Year." In Afrikaans, "Skelm" is widely used by all language groups in South Africa to denote someone who is dishonest, crooked or a blatant liar. The newspaper also names Dr Ali Bacher, former managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), as "Dope of the Year," South African bookmaker Marlon Aronstam as the "Crier of the Year," National Olympics Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) chairman Sam Ramsamy as "Spoilsport of the Year," and, on a more serious note, former cricket all-rounder Eddie Barlow as having had the "Innings of the Year." Cronje received the "Skelm of the Year" award after he first denied his involvement in match-fixing, which Indian police disclosed after intercepting telephone calls between him and Indian bookmaker Sanjeev Chawla in April last year. "Confronted with incontrovertible evidence, he made a dramatic midnight confession," said the citation for the award. Dr Bacher, who retired from the UCBSA on Sunday to head up the South African World Cup 2003 initiative, was named "Dope of the Year" because he fell victim to Cronje's lies. He appeared publicly with Cronje in April and said: "Cronje is known for his unquestionable integrity and honesty." Within days, after a late night confession to him via telephone, Bacher said, "I feel let down by Hansie...We have been deceived." Johannesburg bookmaker Marlon Aronstam, who broke down in tears while testifying before the King Commission of Inquiry into match-fixing in June, won the "Crier of the Year" award. But 'The Argus' questioned whether they were crocodile tears or not. Sam Ramsamy was named "Spoilsport of the Year" after he refused to let the South African hockey team, which consisted of white members only, to go to the Sydney Olympics. "The Innings of the Year" award, one of the few more serious ones, went to veteran cricketer Eddie Barlow. Barlow suffered a brain hemorrhage while coaching the Bangladesh national team, but fought back courageously, said the citation. "While he was in hospital in Dhaka, the crowds queued outside in the hope of offering him their good wishes," it added. "A real hero!" While many of the Sports Awards for 2000 of the Cape Argus are made tongue-in-cheek, it is still a classic example of many a true word said, or in this case, written, in jest. India Abroad News Service

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