On 11th April 2000, the South African Test captain, Hansie Cronje, made an astonishing confession. He had - despite his repeated previous denials - accepted substantial amounts of money from bookmakers in India by agreeing to manipulate some of South Africa's international cricket matches. Now, Simon Wilde has written the full story of the biggest scandal to hit cricket in the modern era. Central to the book is a fascinating psychological picture of Cronje himself - a far more complex and ambiguous character than his dour Afrikaner persona. Wilde also investigates the murky, byzantine world of the Indian bookmakers, with its furtive meetings and cellphone conversations in airport hotels, where boast sums are bet illegally on the outcome of every one-day international. Authoritative and revelatory, this is a shocking and compelling study of how the game of cricket lost its innocence.
“A concise, thoroughly researched and elegant analysis of [a] sorry affair. So often this kind of book can degenerate into a morass of obscure detail. Wilde avoids this fate by concentrating on the central thrust and the central characters of his story … Cronje emerges from this tale as a vindictive, brooding bully, with an unstable personality and an obsessive desire for wealth and power”
Leo McKinstry, Sunday Telegraph
“A compelling account of an odious, greed-obsessed chapter”
David Foot, Western Daily Press