?But is it cricket

?But is it cricket

Bryan Rostron

Like sightings of Elvis, the late Hansie Cronje popped up everywhere during the recent Cricket World Cup. Judging by the column inches devoted to him, you could be forgiven for thinking that Hansie (as journalists and fans here still refer to him) was even now captain of the South Africa national cricket team rather than a fallen idol, banned for life from professional cricket for accepting bribes – and who died in a plane crash last June. Hansie was definitely the spectre at the feast; a feast of cricket that many South Africans – backed by patriotic comment and editorials in the local press – hoped would be a successful showcase for the “new” South Africa. But even before the World Cup campaign got underway, the ghost of Hansie reappeared. Three of South Africa’s most senior Test players announced they would dedicate their 2003 World Cup to their former captain. This caused a furore, dividing the country along all too predictable racial lines. “If you go to his hometown of Bloemfontein, they consider him to be a God,” one sports writer with the Johannesburg Star explained to Reuters. “But it is 50-50. A lot of South Africans aren’t so forgiving.” ۵۰-۵۰? Hmm. Here was a peep into the limited world (some might call it a wonderland) in which many cricket commentators and perhaps the majority of white South Africans still live – a narrow, misleading universe all too often mirrored back at them from their newspapers, TVs or radios.

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