Conspiracy theories have a field day

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2001, 0:44 [IST]
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New Delhi: Is this South Africa's revenge against the action of Indian police in exposing former South African captain Hansie Cronje?As a wave of shock and anger swept cricket lovers following the harsh penalties imposed on six top Indian cricketers, this was one of the questions being asked. Conspiracy theories had a field day and no one was willing to hear that the action against Indians had been taken by Mike Denness, an Englishman. If it was not for revenge, why would as many as six Indians be singled out for unprecedented punishment while the South Africans who had indulged in as bad or even worse behaviour on the field were not even noticed. There is a mystery to how Denness took note of the alleged tampering of ball by Sachin Tendulkar. When the first reports of the incident came, it was stated that a South African TV channel had, on its own, made the footage available to the match referee. The question that immediately arises was what locus standi does the private channel have in such matter, and that too when ICC rules do not give the channel any such right. The rumours took a new turn later when it was said that it was Denness who had asked for the footage. In the absence of any authentic word on these issues, followers of the game here see a definite South African involvement either through the TV channel or otherwise. Indian Police had caught Hansie Cronje, a South African icon, in conversation with a bookie during his team's last tour of India less than two years ago. After initially denying any wrongdoing, he had admitted to receiving money from bookies for giving "pitch and weather information".
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