Judge suggests profit motive drove Cronje

Judge Edwin King has claimed that Hansie Cronje's major motivation for his historic decision to forfeit an innings during the Centurion Test against England this year was his own personal gain.

Judge Edwin King has claimed that Hansie Cronje's major motivation for his historic decision to forfeit an innings during the Centurion Test against England this year was his own personal gain.

King's observations are contained in the interim report of his match-fixing inquiry Although King will not make any recommendations until the completion of his report, which is due to reconvene on 2 October, it is clear the judge does not believe Cronje has been completely honest in his lengthy testimony.

"What occurred was that Cronje engineered a formula whereby what would otherwise have produced an inevitable draw in the Centurion Test was transformed into a match which would in all probability [and did] produce a positive result," King says in his report.

"Thus the decision was taken and the action pursuant thereto was influenced by the promise [and receipt] of a reward. Such other motive as there might have been is in this context secondary."

Judge King also indicated that there was a common thread running through Cronje's dealing with his team-mates with regard to various suggestions of match-fixing which were made by Cronje during his international career.

"Where Cronje sought to involve his team-mates in match-fixing... the initial approach is made jocularly. He would sound out his colleagues in a way which would enable him to say later, if the need arose, that he had only been joking."

Judge King also observed that on his first meeting with the British-based bookmaker Sanjay Chowla he chose to "spin him along rather than reject his overtures [of match-fixing] out of hand".

Cronje's former international team-mates Pieter Strydom, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams will have their fates decided on Monday when a disciplinary panel releases its findings following a hearing last weekend which examined their roles in the match-fixing affair.

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