Wessels: Hansie 'fixing' comments blown out of proportion

In his latest column for a South African sports portal, where he works as a commentator, Wessels has claimed that his statements have been blown out of proportion by a section of the Australian media.

A file picture of former South African captain Kepler Wessels.   -  K. Pichumani

For the last couple of days, the South African cricket fraternity has been abuzz with former captain Kepler Wessels claiming that he suspected his successor Hansie Cronje fixed matches much before being caught in 2000.

While on Friday, most of Cronje’s former team-mates, who spoke to Sportstar found Wessels’ allegations strange, the former Proteas captain has now come out to defend himself.

In his latest column for a South African sports portal, where he works as a commentator, Wessels has claimed that his statements have been blown out of proportion by a section of the Australian media. “I have become aware of the unnecessary controversy that is raging in South Africa over a documentary I did in November in Australia. The documentary was about Australian cricket legends highlighting my career there. It was not about match fixing,” he has written in the column, adding: “the match fixing saga was a small part of the interview and I was asked a question, which I answered honestly. In fact I stressed in the interview that Hansie didn't deserve what came his way and that it was one of the most, if not the most, personal — and cricket — tragedy in the history of South African cricket.”

Wessels, who mentored Cronje in his formative years, has also made it clear that he had spoken to the late cricketer in Johannesburg, shortly before his demise. “I was in favour of his appointment as captain and he did a fine job as a leader and as a player until tragedy struck. We had a long conversation in Johannesburg shortly before his death and parted company as the best of friends. Tragically it looked to me at the time that he turned the corner after a very dark time and was on the way back.”

With most of the former cricketers raising doubts over the timeliness of Wessels' comments, the former captain has explained that angle, too. “It has been alluded to that I should have reported the matter at the time. That is exactly what I did to the relevant authority on tour. As captain I didn't feel that it was appropriate to bring it to the rest of the team in the middle of the series. I was also next in line to testify at the King Commission before it was shut down,” he has written.