Donald pays tribute to childhood friend, team-mate

Published: Sunday, June 2, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Birmingham: South Africa fast bowler Allan Donald paid tribute on Sunday to his friend and team-mate Hansie Cronje.

Donald, currently playing club cricket in England, spoke of his shock at hearing the news. "I was at home when I got a call. You don't believe these sorts of things so I immediately phoned Hansie's mother. She was hysterical," added Donald, a friend of Cronje's since childhood. "We were like brothers. His brother Frans, Hansie and I would play cricket and rugby together and stay overnight. All those memories flashed back when I heard the news." Donald, speaking on Sky Sports during the lunch interval of the second Test between England and Sri Lanka at Edgbaston, said his thoughts now were with Cronje's parents. "They took a massive knock for this (the bribery scandal) and this is even worse. Hansie's taken a severe kicking. Now he's missed a flight and he's dead." Donald admitted he had been hurt by Cronje's part in the bribery scandal. "I was angry," said Donald who explained he had repaired his relationship with his old friend. "He phoned me. If there was one man he felt he let down the most it was me. We had a coffee and he cried like a baby." Donald, who described Cronje as a "natural captain", said he always enjoyed playing alongside him. "Whenever I took a wicket on the field or reached a milestone he was always the first man I looked for."

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