Cronje had courage

Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2003, 0:58 [IST]
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Dhaka: South African opener Herschelle Gibbs on Tuesday praised his former captain Hansie Cronje, saying he had "courage and dedication". "Cronje was a natural leader who led the team with courage and dedication," Gibbs said a day after South Africa, led by new captain Graeme Smith, shared the trophy with India following the rain-hit final of a triangular series here. He said he still had great respect for Cronje and he along with fast bowler Allan Donald had wanted to dedicate the World Cup to him, but South Africa failed to qualify for the Super Sixes at home after losing to Sri Lanka. Gibbs had conceded during the World Cup that South Africa had been struggling in the absence of Cronje, saying "his leadership skills made him the icon that he was". Cronje, who died in a plane crash last year, was banned for life for his alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal in 2000. Gibbs also served a six-month suspension following the scandal before returning to the national squad. "It (match-fixing) was a great mistake. I was then younger, but it's good for me to be back in the team," said Gibbs, who has so far scored 3,069 runs in 43 Tests and 4,326 in 128 One-day Internationals. South Africa will play two Tests with Bangladesh, the first beginning at Chittagong on Thursday. Copyright AFP 2001

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