Former SA skipper Rice says cricket needs urgent ‘wake up call’

Friday, September 10, 2010

JOHANNESBURG - Former South Africa captain Clive Rice has said that cricket needs an urgent ‘wake up call’ as the match-fixing allegations threaten to shatter both the reputation and the revenues associated with the game.

“The whole revenue stream shrinks dramatically if this match-fixing is not put to bed very fast and with the intention of letting the players know: you do not get involved,” the Daily Times quoted Rice, as saying in a TV interview.

“The reputation of having match-fixing in the game will chase sponsors away flat out because they don’t want to be associated with it…. There are lots of other sports they can participate in,” Rice warned.

He claimed that when he was a selector for the South African national team, he too, had been approached to fix matches, and he passed on all the information he had to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, as to what was going on.” Rice said, adding that he could not give too many details, fearing for his own safety.

“It’s best it stay in their (ICC’s) hands than out in the public eye,” he added.

Rice, 61, also felt strongly that the deaths of former Pakistan coach, Bob Woolmer, and disgraced former South Africa captain, Hansie Cronje, were linked to match-fixing.

“I’ll question those deaths until the day I die because I don’t believe the truth has come out,” Rice, a close friend of Woolmer, said.

Rice said he thought Woolmer was “taken out” because he had probably, “found something out” and was about to reveal details of corruption in cricket, whereas Cronje might have plans “to reveal, maybe in a book, the truth behind what was involved.”

Cronje had admitted forecasting results and was banned for life in 2000, and had died in a plane crash two years later, whereas former South Africa and Pakistan coach Woolmer was found dead in a Jamaican hotel room on the morning after his team lost to Ireland at the 2007 World Cup.

Earlier this week, Rice had called on investigators to re-examine the deaths of Woolmer and Cronje in the wake of the latest Pakistan betting scandal in England. (ANI)

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