Few supporters for Waugh in Kenya

Neil Manthorp –  09/10/2000

Apart from the delicious tension created by the sudden-death format of the ICC Knockout tournament in Nairobi, it has been the opportunity to meet and chat with friends and colleagues from around the cricketing world that has made it special so far.

On the subject of the cricket incidentally, I do not wish to gloat but I feel duty-bound to report the atmosphere amongst the international media during the India/Australia match.

There were five Australian media representatives in the enormous and impressive media centre, including The Australian’s cricket correspondent Malcolm Conn (well known to SA cricket followers by now, I think) and former Test player David Hookes. Those five men, I assure you, were absolutely alone in their support for Steve Waugh’s team as they slowly but surely slid to defeat.

And the reason was Steve Waugh himself. South Africans may be under the impression that Waugh’s “choker” attacks have been aimed over the years at SA teams alone, but that is not the case. He has been fond of reminding opposition all over the world that “Australia rises to the occasion” and “the big matches are the ones that count.”

Well, not this time. Everyone watching agreed, without argument, that he is one of the greatest players of his generation but an impressive collection of former Test players were amongst those asking: “So where’s your famous Australian ‘bottle’ now, Steve?”

Sadly but not surprisingly much of the talk between cricket has been – obviously – about corruption in the game. India’s journalistic contingent is always amongst the friendliest in the world, and it has been a delight to catch up with them again.

News from that part of the world is that four international players are about to be named as having ‘wealth disproportionate to their income’ after the recent tax investigations and the investigation will then be taken from there.

One question they had for me was: why on earth would the great and venerable Nelson Mandela comply with Cronje’s request for a meeting at Fancourt?

As I mentioned in this column a few days ago, my belief is that a major part of Cronje’s plans for rehabilitation into South African society is to make a massive contribution towards the welfare of the less disadvantaged members of our country.

Mandela’s Children’s Fund is, I understand, a shining example of how charity can work efficiently in SA and Hansie Cronje has plenty to contribute. In every way.


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