Gibbs, Boje will tour India: UCBSA

Published: Monday, June 28, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Durban:Even as the editor of a leading South African newspaper called the cricket authorities to hand over Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje to the Indian police, a top Board official has said that the two players would "certainly" tour India later this year.

United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) president, Ray Mali, has reportedly said that negotiations were on with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and although he could not reveal more, he could "guarantee" that both Gibbs and Boje would be part of the team that will visit India for a two-Test series in October-November this year.

"Both will certainly make the tour to India. We cannot disclose at this juncture what we are negotiating with the BCCI, but I can guarantee you that both will be available for the tour," Mali was quoted as saying in the Pakistani daily The News.

The News also said that the two cricketers might arrive in India a day ahead of the scheduled date in the company of a High Commission official, so as to avoid any embarrassing situation.

South Africa are to play two Test matches this year. They will return next for a series of One-day Internationals.

Meanwhile, Barney Mthombothi, editor of the Durban based Sunday Tribune, made the call for Gibbs and Boje to face justice in his special column on Sunday under the headline, "Slaying the ghost of Cronje's folly".

He said, "It (the UCBSA) wants an assurance from its Indian counterpart that Gibbs and Boje who were implicated in the Cronje scandal will not be arrested should they set foot in India.

"In other words, the UCBSA wants the Indians to intervene with the criminal justice system to save our players from their own folly. What kind of madness is this? Or is the UCBSA implying this is how things are done in South Africa?"

The Delhi police blew the lid on the match-fixing scandal in 2000 when it caught Cronje in conversation with bookies over a cell phone.

Cronje allegedly agreed to underperform and also lure younger members of the team, Gibbs and Boje, in return for huge sums of money.

Later, appearing before an inquiry commission back home, Cronje admitted to accepting bribes from bookies but denied underperforming or throwing away matches. He was banned from all forms of the game for life before being killed in a plane crash in 2002.

Gibbs revealed that Cronje asked him to score less than 20 runs in a One-day International in that series but went on to score a half-century. He was banned for six months from all levels of the game.

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