Johannesburg: South Africa's World Cup squad was reported on Thursday to have decided to dedicate the contest to disgraced ex-skipper Hansie Cronje who was killed in a plane crash last year. "For me this World Cup is going to be extra special and there's an extra-special person I'd like to dedicate it to," Jonty Rhodes told the Star. Asked if the person he was referring to was Cronje, Rhodes simply nodded. Fast bowler Allan Donald was reported to have nodded in agreement. Cronje was banned for life in 2000 after admitting he had been paid $ 100,000 by Indian bookmakers and offered other players money to under-perform.
Donald, who like Cronje, hails from Bloemfontein, wore the number 5 embroidered on his collar last season. The number was worn by Cronje during international matches. Herschelle Gibbs, who served a six-month ban after being implicated by Cronje in the scandal, was another player who paid tribute to the former skipper. "We need to go out there, play like we know we can and go and win it. It will be a lovely end to the careers of Allan (Donald), Jonty (Rhodes), Gary (Kirsten) and bearing one other person in mind," Gibbs said in an obvious reference to Cronje. Cronje made his debut for South Africa in 1992 and captained the national team from 1994 to 2000. He represented South Africa in 68 Tests -- 53 as skipper.
He led his country to victory in 71 per cent of the One-day Internationals and 51 per cent of Test matches. In the 1999 World Cup, South Africa, skippered by Cronje, lost on run rate to Australia after tying with them in the semi-finals, when Donald was infamously run- out after a mix-up with Lance Klusener.