Donald misses Cronje, to dedicate World Cup to him

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2003, 21:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: South African fast bowler Allan Donald, who will be appearing in his last World Cup next month, has said he would dedicate his performances at cricket's premier event to his late former captain Hansie Cronje. Donald, known as White Lightning, also wanted the International Cricket Council and the United Cricket Board of South Africa to honour Cronje during the tournament but it was rejected.

"I think I feel the loss more than a lot of the other guys," Donald said of Cronje who was slapped with a life ban after admitting to having received money from bookmakers. "Some officials treated him like a murderer and took every chance they could to kick him to death. They did a good job of that," he said on Wednesday. "But guys who played with him respected him and I think it's a great shame there won't be a tribute. He was as great a cricketer as our country has had and he was a man with problems.

"Unfortunately some people can't bury the hatchet, even after his death," Donald said. Cronje was the most successful captain for South Africa until his career was cut short by the ban. He died in an air-crash last year. Ali Bacher, chairman of the World Cup organising committee, said a tribute to Cronje could not be considered because of the tournament's international nature. "There is no intention (for a tribute)," Bacher said. "This is the World Cup, not just a South African event -- we are here on behalf of the international cricket community." "With time, everything heals.

I'm sure with time he (Cronje) could have come back in some way and helped cricket in the townships. "It's tragic there won't be a chance for that to happen." Donald said cricket's administrators should allow compassion over Cronje's untimely death to supersede his past indiscretions. "What he did for this team will never be forgotten by the players," Donald said. "He was a presence in the change-room. He was always planning one session ahead of everyone else, before anyone thought of it." Cronje still holds the record of 23 World Cup matches for South Africa, a mark that will be matched by Donald and Jonty Rhodes on January 9 at Newlands. "I'm dedicating this World Cup to Hansie," said Donald.

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