Hansie Cronje, was a tenacious cricketer who captained the South African cricket team at the tender age of 24 years. Leading South Africa to great success on the world stage, he was a very handy batsman and more than competent with the ball. He had excellent tactical skills and was able to lead his team to many wins against the best the world could offer. Having been banned for life from any involvement in cricket, as a result of his admission to accepting bribes from bookmakers, he will long be remembered as the only player to have had the guts to come clean and accept the consequences.
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Born in Bloemfontein to parents Ewie (father) and San-Marie (mother) Cronje. He attended Grey College, a prestigious private boys school reserved mainly for the very affluent. Hansie, graduated as the head of his class after completing his matriculation (yr12).
Playing in a number of provincial cricket sides, he was selected as a representative for the all schools South African cricket team in both 1986-87. His major cricket debut was made in 1987, when he was selected as an all-rounder to represent Free State and at the age of 21, was made captain of the team. Whilst playing for Free State, he attended the local university in Blomfontein.
Hansie quickly developed as a cricketer of international quality and was selected to represent South Africa against the West Indies in 1991, when he was promoted to the national squad after having impressed the UCBSA selectors with his performances at the provincial level.
In 1994, aged just 24 years, he was made captain of the South African team and became the youngest person promoted to this position in over a century.
In 2000, Hansie was banned for life by the UCBSA, after he admitted to the King Commission of having accepted bribes from bookmakers during the previous few years.
As a result of his life ban, in 2001, he became the financial manager for an agricultural machinery company based in Johannesburg.
Cronje was killed on 1 June 2002, in a plane crash. He was the only passenger on a plane carrying cargo. He has now taken his palce alongside other legends of cricket past in that great cricket stadium in the sky.
He is survived by his wife Bertha, whose greatest wish was that the world would forgive the mistakes of Hansie and see him for the true person and champion he was.