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Thatscricket - Wish your star

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Pretoria: In a rather unusual situation, disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje shared a Newsmaker of the Year award with the South African Air Force on Tuesday evening. The Pretoria Press Club announced that Cronje and the Air Force had jointly received the award for dominating headlines during the year 2,000. The Air Force received the award for its role in the devastating floods in neighbouring Mozambique last year, assisting in saving thousands of lives.Cronje, who was not present to receive his award, received the award for capturing the attention of not only local headlines but also the entire world when he admitted to having accepted money and gifts from Indian and South African bookmakers.This led to the South African government establishing the King Commission to investigate irregularities in cricket. The Commission has just finished its final report, which is awaiting release by the state president.Cronje has since been banned for life from the sport by the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), but is appealing the ban in the high court here.The chairman of the Pretoria Press Club, Yusuf Abramjee, said that the award to Cronje should not be misconstrued as a merit award, although the Air Force award was certainly for a very meritorious action as well."It was because his role in the match-fixing saga created so much news. No one will ever forget the face of Cronje when he told the King Commission that the devil made him do it," Abramjee said. Images of Cronje breaking down in tears at the end of his testimony at the Commission were relayed on live television worldwide.Cronje is currently under new pressure amid speculation that he may not get the indemnity from criminal prosecution that he was promised if he came clean at the Commission. He also faces possible charges of currency contraventions and tax evasion pending the final outcome of the King Commission.IANS

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