Mysterious death of Hansie Cronje, Bob Woolmer and Bardish Dutt : Who is next ?

In July 30, 2013 Delhi Police filed its charge sheet in the IPL spot-fixing case naming underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his close aide Chhota Shakel and some cricketers, including S Sreesanth.


Bob Woolmer (left) and Hansie Cronje, an awesome combination but both life innings end sadly and prematurely. @ Getty Image

In 1992/93 India toured South Africa. In the first one day match South Africa needed 6 runs from only 4 balls. That exciting moment one player finished the match by hitting the famous six and was awarded Man of the match for his economical bowling. That player was  Wessel Johannes “Hansie” Cronje. In 2004 he was voted 11th greatest South African though having been life banned from cricket for his role in a match-fixing scam. Since W.G. Grace he was the first captain to win a three match after being one down. Hansie became South Africa’s highest Test run scorer in October 1999. Under his captaincy South Africa won 27 Test, lost 11, completing series victories against every team except Australia. In One Day International 99 wins from 138 matches with one tied match and three no result. In terms of matches won, his 99 wins as a captain made him the most successful captain worldwide.

On 1st June 2002 Hansie, aged 32, was killed as his scheduled flight was grounded into Quteniqua Mountains. In August 2006, South African High Court opened an inquest into the plane crash. That inquest states “the death of the Wessel Johannes (Hansie) Cronje was brought about by an act or omission prima facie amounting to an offense on the part of pilots.” Speculation that Hansie was murdered on the demand of cricket betting syndicate thrives after his death and was recently re-floated by former Nottinghamshire coach Clive Rice. Giving a confessional statement Hansie opened the dark side of cricket. He might have more information to reveal. His sudden death helped his partners to avoid legal action against them.

In October 1994, Bob Woolmer joined with Hansie as coach in South African team. Bob was hardly hesitant in innovating or introducing technology to enhance the result of the team. As a captain, Hansie gave the free rein to the former. 0n May 15, 1999 against India in the field it was determined that South African Skipper had been wearing an earpiece to receive instruction from Coach Bob Woolmer.

Later Pakistan selected Bob Woolmer as their coach. On 17 March Pakistan faced Ireland in the ninth match of the World Cup at Sabina Park and unheralded Irish team upset the Pakistanis. The lifeless body was found on the bathroom floor in his hotel’s room in the early next morning. Surprisingly all the Pakistan players had been out caught in that match against Ireland. According to Clive Rice that, fixing was definitely involved and the murder was linked to that

 More ‘odds’ can be calculated. 35748 wickets had fallen in all ODI matches till that match took place in Jamaica. Among them 19,949 wickets had been caught-that means 55.8 per cent. So the probability of all 10 wickets in an innings falling to catches produce a value of 0.0029.That is roughly as likely as 3 in 1000.Now if we look at the matches played on the Sabina Park till that day , we discover  165 caught out of 293 dismissals that is roughly 56.31 percent. The probability is 0.0032 and again roughly a chance of 3 in 1000. . So the numbers tell us that this was an extremely odd event.

In 2013 Indian fast bowler S Sreenath and other 13 have been arrested for the allegation of spot fixing in IPL. Delhi Police inspector Badrish Dutt was among those probing spot-fixing. He had information on spot fixing since last couple of month. He was specialized in cracking terrorist modules. He was awarded twice for gallantry. May 11, 2013 Dutt was found shot dead in his flat.

During an interview in the controversial new book Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to Heart of Cricket’s underground by Ed Hawkins. Former Chairperson of IPL, Lalit Modi has claimed that spot fixing is widespread in cricket. He added that he has survived three attempts on his life refusing to fix IPL matches.

As it is the truth like day light that Mafia Gang is related to fixing. They must not want to explore their activities .After giving the confessional statement Bangladesh’s first super hero Mohammad Ashraful may turn from their friend to foe.  Authority concern should take proper steps to avoid any mysterious incident and to dispel any kind of threat on Mohammad Ashraful’s life.


Match fixing to Spot fixing : Hansie Cronje to Mohammad Ashraful

Imagine you are watching a cricket match between Bangladesh and South Africa. Bangladesh requires 6 runs from 6 balls and 1 wicket in hand. Nasir is on the striking end and Dyle Styne is on the bowling end .You fail to be calm. You cannot hold your excitement .You keep your fingers crossed. You don’t know what happen next. Actually no one supposed to know which team will win. But one or someone knows that.  As that cricket appearing on your TV set is no more a sport, but a staged drama. You are going to be a fool. You are going to be deceited as that is a fixed match (or this is match fixing).

History says infamous Chicago White Sox scandal in 1919 was the first match-fixing incident in sport arena. ‘The News on Sunday ‘conducted a research into the 91–years of match-fixing. According to that research some gamblers had bribed several members of the Chicago White Sox team in 1919 to throw the series in favors of their rivals Cincinnati Reds. There were eight members of this team involved in this scam, subsequently banned for life time .Now let’s see what about cricket. During last 10 years 12 cricketers  have been banned.


Mohammad Ashrasful : The falling superstar of Bangladesh.
Image: AP


‘Inside The Boundary Line’ a recent book published by Leadstart Publishing, India, shocks the world by conveying that match fixing in cricket in not a sporadic but a continuous process. The author Atul Kumar won S R Jindal Prize-2011 for crusade against Corruption. He brought to light leakage of 5000 crores of rupees a year in Indian railway procurement. As  per  that book match fixing is happening in all the matches, whether T20 leagues, county cricket, ODI’s or Test cricket; and involves all players  whether the masters or the debutants. The book emphasizing that, without the active or passive involvement of cricket experts, commentators and officials match –fixing in cricket can’t be. From international matches to T20 leagues, the colour of players clothing changed, but the character of betting remained the same. This is first time ever in the history of cricket that such large scale fixing in cricket has been pointed out.

In 1994-95 when an Indian bookmaker offered money to Australian cricketers Mark Waugh and Shane Warne in exchange for weather condition and pitch related information. The episode pale away from public memory as the players being let off due to inconclusive evidence. By using this laxity properly fixer had taken over the reins of cricket by 2000.  

On 7th April 2000 Delhi police intercepted a call between the South African captain and sporting hero Hansie Cronje and a bookie Sanjay Chawla. That was the beginning of a gale storm that would sweep the very heart of international cricket. Then  an inquiry was set up and Cronje admitted to match fixing .He said that he was introduced to Mukesh Gupta ,a bookie ,by Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin.He revealed the name of Salim malik,Ata-ur-Rehman (Pakistan )Mohammad Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja (India)  .Three other South African Cricketers  Herchelle  Gibbs, Henry Williams and Nicky Boje were also the part of the fixing, according to Delhi police. Later in June 2002 Cronje’s flight which was scheduled to Johannesburg to George crashed into Quteniqa Mountains. Cronje exposed the dark side of cricket. His death helped many of his partners escape the law enforce agencies. This death will remain a mystery.

In 2000 Azharuddin was found guilty of match fixing with a bookmaker, Mukesh Gupta. Eventually Azharuddin ,one of the most successful Indian captains ,was banned from playing cricket for life, though he said that he was being wrongly targeted for being a Muslim. After 12 years November 2012 Azharuddin got relief from the Andra Pradesh High Court which held the BCCI action as ‘illegal’ and ‘unsustainable’

Salim Malik played his last Test match in 1999 .He captained Pakistan in South Africa and Zimbabwe before being suspended having been accused of bribery. However he was found innocent .But in May 2000 Qayyam’s enquiry banned him from associating with the game.23rd October 2008 a local court in Lahore has lifted the life ban imposed by PCB.

In 2010 match fixing turned into spot fixing. That year  Mervyn Westfield and Danish Kaneria were accused of spot-fixing during their county stint with Essex.  .’ Spot–fixing ‘refers to illegal activity in a specific part of a game is fixed. For instance something as minor as timing of a no ball or wide delivery in cricket or timing the first throw-in or corner in football. Match fixing, where a whole match is fixed, differs from spot-fixing. Spot fixing is more difficult to detect. It is related with the betting markets of the Indian subcontinent where bets can be placed on individual deliveries in a match. In November 2011 Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Arif were found guilty by a London court on criminal charge relating to spot fixing.

Bangladeshi  off spinner  Shariful Haque was banned for spot fixing in 2012 before BPL. In May 2012 five domestic cricketers Amit Yadav, Mohnish Mishra, Abhinav Bali, TP Sudhinra and Shalabh Srivastava were suspended from cricket for spot fixing by BCCI. In 2013 three IPL cricketers  S Sreesanht, Ankit Chauhan, Ajit Chandila were arrested for spot fixing allegation.

After the completion of BPL second edition in 2013 first superstar of Bangladesh Mohammad Ashraful  gave a confessional statement to Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) about his involvement not only that year’s BPL but also in international matches for his country. On 14 August, 2013 David Richardson, ICC CEO, announced that 9 individuals including 3 foreigners, had been charged with corruption in BPL.