Dale Steyn, on Saturday (June 1), paid an emotional tribute to former South Africa skipper Hansie Cronje on his 16th death anniversary.
It’s pertinent to mention, Cronje died on June 1, 2002, in a plane crash, less than a year after he was handed a life ban over his involvement in the match-fixing scandal.
Keeping the match-fixing scandal aside, Cronje was one of the greatest players to represent the Proteas. He made his debut for South Africa at the 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia.
The late cricketer Cronje played in eight of the team’s nine tournament matches.
Cronje was named as the stand-in captain for an injured Kepler Wessels in the third and final test against Australia in Adelaide way back in 1994.
With it, he became South Africa’s second youngest test captain after Murray Bisset in 1898/99.
During the series against New Zealand in 1994-95, he got the captaincy role on a permanent basis.
From there on, until the day he was banned for life, he led South Africa 138 times in One-day Internationals, winning 99 of them.
At that time, he was the player to captain South Africa in the most ODIs (a feat bested by Graeme Smith who captained South Africa in 149 ODIs). However, his 99 wins as captain is yet to be broken.
On 7 April 2000, his reputation was tarnished when he was exposed in the betting scandal. After an inquiry by the King Commission, Cronje was banned from any involvement in cricket for life.
The disgraced allrounder challenged his life ban in September 2001 but on 17 October 2001, his application was dismissed.
Unfortunately, a few months later, the cargo plane in which he was travelling crashed on Cradock Peak in the Outeniqua mountain range. Cronje was only 32 then.
Prior to the betting scandal, Cronje was one of the most influential figures for post-apartheid South Africa. And Steyn’s tweet for him perfectly sums up his impact on the South African cricket.
The speedster took to Twitter to pay his tribute to Hansie Cronje, writing:
“I’m two-year older than Hansie was when he passed. But I’ll forever remember him through the eyes of my 11 year old self. Regardless of his mistakes, he was my then hero, he helped pave my direction to where I am today. RIP. God bless his close friends/family”.
Im 2 years older than Hansie was when he passed, but I’ll forever remember him through the eyes of my 11 year old self. Regardless of his mistakes, he was my then hero, he helped pave my direction to where I am today.
RIP. God bless his close friends/family https://t.co/2OAWVDg1PQ
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) June 2, 2018