South African Vice Captain Cronje

South African Vice Captain Cronje

Post by Vicky B. Vigneswar » Thu, 28 Jul 1994 00:47:54

Cronje a captain in waiting

South Africa  have  ready-made  replacement  to  take  over  from
Wessels  Peter Deeley on an able deputy who is keen to accept the
'ultimate challenge'

While all eyes will be on Kepler Wessels as he leads out the  re-
born  South  Africa  at Lord's today, those looking to the future
should pay heed to the man following directly on his heels. Indi-
cations  are that this will be Wessels's last tour as captain and
that by the time the team go to Pakistan in October for a one-day
triangular  series with Australia, leadership of the rechristened
Proteas will have  passed  to  his  present  vice-captain  Hansie
Cronje.  No-one  in  the South African camp is saying anything at
the moment: indeed such a historic occasion is not the moment  to
start  talking  publicly about a reshuffle. But I understand that
it was made clear some time  ago  to  Wessels  what  the  cricket
board's captaincy plans are. When asked about his future, Wessels
- at 36, 12 years Cronje's senior -declined  to  talk  about  the
matter.  He  has  led  South Africa since they were readmitted to
international cricket in late 1991 and his Test record as captain
reads  played  13,  won four (India, Sri Lanka, Australia twice),
lost two (West Indies, Australia),  drawn  seven.  At  Sydney  in
January,  when  South  Africa  recorded their famous five-run win
over Australia, Cronje took over as captain  on  the  final  days
when  Wessels  broke  a  finger  and had to return home with knee
trouble as well. The younger man then led his country  when  Aus-
tralia  levelled  the series with a 191-run victory in Adelaide -
the only Test Wessels has missed.   At that time there was specu-
lation  that  Cronje would lead South Africa in the return series
(again drawn 1-1) and Wessels made it clear at the time  that  he
would  be happy to serve under his protege. In the event, Wessels
was reappointed, but was criticised  for  his  cautious  methods,
notably  in  the  final  drawn  Durban  Test. Though Cronje - the
youngest player in the side - is a more adventurous cricketer and
has  led  Orange  Free State to six trophies in three years, when
the changeover comes it will be difficult to tell the difference.
They went to the same largely-Afrikaner Grey College in Bloemfon-
tein and both are active members of the  Dutch  Reformed  Church.
Cronje,  who  regards  Wessels with a respect almost amounting to
reverence, said: "Captaining your country is the  ultimate  chal-
lenge, but Kepler is very much in charge at the moment. His whole
approach is based on discipline and determination and he has done
a fantastic job with limited resources."

Extracted from a Daily Telegraph article by Peter Deeley

UMass, July 26, 1994