24 July, 2021

Plucking Banjos

Cronje sings a wayward tune on bookies, Azhar and money

Plucking Banjos

As the former Proteas captain retraced his steps through the dark alleys of the betting world during his cross-examination, which entered its third day on June 23, the event offered moments that were in part tantalising, incredulous and even funny. Hansie Cronje's half-way 'exoneration' of Mohammed Azharuddin and refusal to drag in former team-members. Accounts of "money for jam" pouring in from places even Cronje didn't know about. And the shadowy figure of the mysterious Johannesburg businessman, Hamid 'Banjo' Cassim, who lurked as a major liaison between the disgraced cricketing hero and international bookies.

Cassim has been identified as the man who initially approached Cronje with an offer to assist bookies in connection with the January 2000 triangular series between South Africa, England and Zimbabwe. Some commentators fear Cassim could well be connected to a much wider network of officials and bookies from all over the cricketing world, particularly London-based Sanjay Chawla.

Although Cassim has not yet been summoned for a deposition before the...

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