| Nicky Boje
Calcutta, June 5: It’s almost four years to the day that Herschelle Gibbs’ stunning deposition before the Justice Edwin King Commission ‘fixed’ Hansie Cronje.
Today, the attention is back on the electrifying opener — to a lesser extent on South African teammate Nicky Boje — and also back in the news is the biggest cricket scandal to have played out in India.
Given the memories, it’s not surprising that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doesn’t want to get ‘involved’ with the Gibbs-Boje issue.
However, the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) is only looking for “some guidance” from the BCCI, explained spokesman Gerald de Kock, when contacted in Johannesburg this afternoon.
Apparently, the UCBSA first wrote to the BCCI in March, seeking an update on the Delhi Police’s match-fixing investigations which began four years earlier, during South Africa’s last tour of India.
A second letter, requesting specifics, was sent a few days ago. Just as well as the probe hasn’t been closed.
The UCBSA’s anxiety is understandable as both Gibbs and Boje, certainties for the tour of India later this year, have been accused of match-fixing by the Delhi Police.
Of the three others similarly charged, Cronje is no more, while Pieter Strydom and Henry Williams don’t come into the picture.
The UCBSA is seeking an “assurance” that the duo is neither going to be arrested nor questioned. Obviously, the BCCI can’t offer that guarantee.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, the UCBSA is actually a “step away” from involving the country’s High Commission in New Delhi.
“The UCBSA is waiting for the BCCI’s reply to its second letter. Once that’s received, it will almost surely get the High Commission to intervene,” is how one source put it.
Eventually, it’s likely that Natwar Singh’s ministry is going to play a role.
The UCBSA, one understands, is keen on (directly or through the High Commission) communicating with the Delhi police commissioner, Dr K. K.Paul, who headed the spring of 2000 investigations. He was, of course, then joint commissioner.
While Gibbs confessed (before Justice King) that he accepted a $ 15,000 inducement from Cronje to underperform — he didn’t, though — in the fifth and final ODI (Nagpur), Boje denied ever being approached by his then cap-tain.
Boje, however, did feature in Cronje’s conversations with bookie Sanjeev Chawla, which were recorded by the Delhi Police and formed the basis of a sensational probe.
For the record, the UCBSA kept Gibbs out of international cricket for six months. Boje, at 31 a year older to Gibbs, wasn’t booked.
EXCERPTS FROM GIBBS’ DEPOSITION BEFORE THE JUSTICE EDWIN KING COMMISSION (Cape Town, June 2000)
“Hansie Cronje appeared in my room (before the fifth and final ODI in Nagpur) with a big smile on his face, saying that someone was prepared to offer me $15,000 for scoring less than 20. I thought of my mother — my parents were getting divorced… my father had a part-time job and I would have to look after my mother — and, so, I said ‘yes’… The team was to get less than 270… By the time Hansie got to the wicket, I’d already scored 30 or 40 and I asked him what should we do' After a few overs, I asked him again and, this time, he said one of us would have to get out… [Gibbs was run out for 74 in South Africa’s match-winning total of 320 for seven.] I was obviously scared and protecting Hansie (when the scandal broke)… It’s never too late to come clean… I’m not proud of what I did. I do apologise.”
EXCERPTS FROM GIBBS’ INTERVIEW TO The Telegraph DURING THE LAST SERIES WITH INDIA (Centurion, November 2001)
“I’ve matured over the past 18 months or thereabouts… Nowadays, I look and jump… Nowadays, I think and act… There are lessons to be learnt, I’ve certainly learnt mine… I’m happy I got the punishment (a six-month ban from international cricket) I did… Lucky I didn’t get banned for life… Was I relieved at confessing everything' Yeah... In any case, I couldn’t have lied under oath… I wanted the world to know my side of the story and the Commission was the perfect forum… People keep talking about Hansie, but I feel he should be left alone and allowed to get on with life… My teammates were pleased when I returned (after the ban)… They felt for me… Their body-language helped me to relax sooner than I would have… I’m more serious about my cricket, but I wouldn’t say I’ve become serious as a person…”