New Delhi: Cricket circles in India on Sunday put aside the dark days of the match- fixing scandal to mourn the death of former South African captain Hansie Cronje in a plane crash.
Ex-players and the media alike said Cronje's death on Saturday was tragic and unexpected, and remembered him as a cricketer par excellence and a great leader of men. "One can only feel sad at anyone dying so young," former Indian great Kapil Dev said. "Cronje was a very good cricketer, but who, unfortunately will be remembered for all the bad reasons and not the good ones. "Just a few days back we heard of the death of (former Indian Test spinner) Subhash Gupte, and now Cronje. It is very sad indeed," Kapil said. K K Paul, the senior Indian police officer who led the probe against Cronje, said he was saddened by his death. "It was a premature death, may his soul rest in peace," Paul said. "Whatever may be his dark deeds that brought shame on his (till then) impeccable and squeaky clean record... not even his worst critic would have wanted him to die in a plane crash at such a young age," said a tribute on the Indian cricket website. "How should history judge Cronje? As a very shrewd captain who led his team to five successive Test series triumphs or a man gone wayward by falling to the lure of the lucre? "Whatever people might say about him one thing just cannot be denied. He was the only man accused in the shady match-fixing deals from various countries to have confessed to his crime, while all others have flatly denied their involvement in the murky happenings that brought shame to the fair name of the game."
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