COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO CRICKET MATCH FIXING AND RELATED MATTERS

HELD ON: 12-06-2000

AT THE CENTRE OF THE BOOK


MR FITZGERALD: Mr Commissioner, the next witness is Mark Boucher.

COMMISSIONER: Mr Boucher, do you have any objection to taking the oath?

MR BOUCHER: No.

MARK BOUCHER: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr Commissioner. Mr Boucher, you have a signed copy of your statement before you? Not so quick. (general laughter)

COMMISSIONER: Mr Fitzgerald, you're wasting time. Get on with the next question. (general laughter)

MR FITZGERALD: You confirm the contents of that statement?

MR BOUCHER: Yes, I do.

MR FITZGERALD: The statement that you've handed up to the Commissioner, you were educated at Selbourne Boys?

MR BOUCHER: That's correct.

MR FITZGERALD: And that's where you apparently learnt your cricket.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: You represented Border Schools in 1993 and 1994, and played for South African Schools, also in 1994. Correct?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: You also played squash for South African under 19, and you made your cricket debut for South Africa at the 1998/1999 season against Pakistan, is that correct?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: You've played approximately 25 tests for South Africa, and you've represented South Africa in excess of 45 one-day internationals.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: I'm reminded that you are the wicketkeeper.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: You're also currently a member of the South African team to tour Sri Lanka in the early of this year.

MR BOUCHER: I am.

MR FITZGERALD: And for the record, you're also the Vice Captain of the South African National side.

MR BOUCHER: That's correct.

MR FITZGERALD: You weren't on the 1996 tour to India.

MR BOUCHER: No, I wasn't.

MR FITZGERALD: You are, though, aware that an offer was made to the team on that tour?

MR BOUCHER: Yes, I am aware of it. It was like a joke that was passed around the side when I first got in.

MR FITZGERALD: In retrospect, what is your view of the fact that such an offer was put to the team?

MR BOUCHER: I think it was probably a good thing that Hansie did to get the team involved in it. I think that, looking at it now in hindsight, it could have posed some problems, but I think now if you look at it from the players points of view, South Africa had just got involved in international cricket, and I think it probably should have been dismissed straight away for the rest of the players.

MR FITZGERALD: And not put to the team?

MR BOUCHER: No.

MR FITZGERALD: You have placed an occasional bet on the Durban July, I am told.

MR BOUCHER: Yes, I have.

MR FITZGERALD: Other then that, have you ever bet on any cricket match?

MR BOUCHER: No, I haven't.

MR FITZGERALD: Which you've been involved in, or at all?

MR BOUCHER: Never.

MR FITZGERALD: You've not been aware of any other South African team who's ever been approached?

MR BOUCHER: No.

MR FITZGERALD: Other than the incidents to which we will refer herein?

MR BOUCHER: That's correct.

MR FITZGERALD: And you've never been approached in regard to match fixing or anything of that nature?

MR BOUCHER: Other than Hansie, then, no.

MR FITZGERALD: You might of course, unwittingly, have been a victim of match fixing, because I believe you were one of the 9 lbw decisions in the Leeds test against England.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Now you were a member of the Indian tour of this year.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Were you approached at any time by Hansie Cronje or anybody else in regard to match fixing on that tour?

MR BOUCHER: Yes, I was.

MR FITZGERALD: When?

MR BOUCHER: Before the second test in Bangalore.

MR FITZGERALD: Can you explain to the Commissioner the circumstances under which you were approached?

MR BOUCHER: Myself and Jacques were room-mates at the time, and we wanted to get some food, so we sent for pastas to the kitchen. And because we weren't too clued up on how much pasta you need to make for two meals, we got back and there was a bit too much, so I went into the corridor, I went opposite, to Alan Donald's room, and I asked him if he would like some food, we've got quite a bit of leftovers. I went into Pieter Strydom's room with Nantie Hayward and I saw Hansie walking in the corridor and I asked him if he would like to come in and get some food as well.

COMMISSIONER: I take it there wasn't a team dog at that stage, was there? (general laughter)

MR BOUCHER: No. What then happened was Hansie, while we were sitting down and all the rest of the guys had left, it was with Jacques, myself and Lance in the room, and he just managed to mention, in a joking way that he had been phoned, and anyway, he asked us if we were like keen to - it wasn't - I'm not sure of his exact words, but it was along the lines of fixing a game. And that's - it lasted for 10 or 15 seconds, and we just dismissed it. And then he carried on eating his food, and then the guys left the room.

MR FITZGERALD: At the time you thought it was a joke.

MR BOUCHER: At the time I did think it was a joke, yes.

MR FITZGERALD: Now, when you think back, could he have been serious?

MR BOUCHER: In hindsight, probably that could have been the way that he might have wanted to approach us.

MR FITZGERALD: If we go to April of this year, as is now much repeated on the 7th of April certain revelations were made, and is it correct that you arrived in Durban on Sunday the 9th of April of this year, to prepare for the first one-day international against Australia?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: And that was scheduled for the 12th. I think it's common cause that on the morning of April the 10th there was a team meeting. Is that correct?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Can you briefly describe to the Commissioner what took place at that team meeting?

MR BOUCHER: It was a team meeting held by The Management and the players, where we discussed the allegations against Hansie and the other three guys, and we basically said that we didn't believe everything that was said and that we were all behind Hansie, 100%.

MR FITZGERALD: At that meeting Hansie had denied any involvement in match-fixing.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: The next morning, Tuesday the 11th, there was a practise scheduled, but during the course of that night certain further revelations had been made. Can you discuss or tell us what happened at that meeting before the practise on that day?

MR BOUCHER: We arrived at the ground to practise and Goolam sat us all down, Goolam Rajah, our Team Manager, sat us all down and he was referring to a statement or an essay written by Hansie, where he just discussed what had actually gone on. He mentioned Banjo - or what's his name? Okay, I don't know his name. But anyway, he discussed that and then basically Graeme Ford our coach, said are we - do we want to practise today and the guys said, "yes, we do", and he opened it as an optional practice, but all the guys - I think everyone ended up practising anyway.

MR FITZGERALD: What was your personal response to this revelation that Hansie confessed?

MR BOUCHER: Obviously shocked and in - I suppose disappointed.

MR FITZGERALD: During the course of that day you were also told as a team, and you individually, that Shaun Pollock would now captain the side, is that correct?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: And your appointment as vice captain was announced.

MR BOUCHER: Not to the team but to me a bit later on.

MR FITZGERALD: Now after the practice at lunchtime in the same day is it correct that there was a further team meeting in the team's hotel in Durban?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct - no, in one of the meeting rooms downstairs.

MR FITZGERALD: And this meeting I understand was presided over by Dr Bacher and there were certain members of the Cricket Board present and the ubiquitous Bronwyn Wilkinson was also there.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Can you remember what Dr Bacher told you at that meeting?

MR BOUCHER: Basically the meeting was about him asking if any of the players were involved in match-fixing and he asked - he went through all the guys, and he particularly asked Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Bojé to stand up and asked them if they were involved in match-fixing. They both answered "no", and the meeting was ended.

MR FITZGERALD: Now you made no reference at this meeting to the fact that you and Jacques and Lance had been approached at Bangalore.

MR BOUCHER: No, we thought it was a bit of a joke that Hansie came to us. We didn't think at that time it was serious.

MR FITZGERALD: And what did you do about that approach after the meeting?

MR BOUCHER: After the meeting we went back to our room and myself and Jacques were talking where we remembered a conversation that Hansie had with us in Bangalore, and we decided to - that I must go and tell Goolam Rajah about his approach because we wanted to clear our names in any way if there was something big that was going to happen. We didn't want our names to be dragged.

MR FITZGERALD: Did you inform anybody else about the approach that had been made?

MR BOUCHER: Anyone else?

MR FITZGERALD: In the team?

MR BOUCHER: Our room was next door to Craig Smith's room, and the door was open and I think Lance, Shaun, I think Gary and Craig were all in the room as well.

MR FITZGERALD: So you indicated to them that you told Goolam Rajah about that approach?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: The first one-day against Australia was on the Wednesday, on the Tuesday were you contacted by any players or former players do you recall?

MR BOUCHER: Pieter Strydom contacted me. He said that he was worried, he did not know what to do. There were press people outside his house and he wasn't getting informed of what was actually going on because he wasn't in the set-up at that time, he was in East London.

He then told me that he had been approached by Hansie in Mumbai before the first test where Hansie had offered him I think it was R70 000. Pieter said "no", and then Hansie once - get off the phone to obviously a bookie, came back and said R140 000, and Peter said "no". And I went and told Goolam Rajah that.

MR FITZGERALD: And I think you also mentioned it to Gary Kirsten, Jacques, Craig and perhaps Lance again.

MR BOUCHER: On returning from Goolam's room, yes.

MR FITZGERALD: Now we've heard evidence that Goolam Rajah would say that you specifically asked him to contact Nicky Bojé and Herschelle Gibbs.

MR BOUCHER: I thought that maybe Herschelle and Nicky were maybe hiding something and were protecting Hansie from this - all allegations and that, and I thought that maybe if Peter had told the truth then maybe these other two guys might have come clean as well. That is the reason that I told Goolam to go and speak to Nicky and to get Gary to go and speak to Herschelle, because Gary is a big mate of Herschelle's.

MR FITZGERALD: In fact was this because Nicky and Herschelle had both been mentioned in the press reports?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Now is it correct a few days later, well on the 13th, that was the Thursday after the one-day international you received a telephone call from Dr Bacher?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Can you briefly describe what happened during the course of that conversation?

MR BOUCHER: Dr Bacher asked me if I had been approached by Hansie. I said to him "yes". I mentioned an amount of 240 000, that is the amount that I was trying to - that had probably come out in a conversation with Jacques when we were trying to discuss and find out what was actually said at the meeting in Bangalore. I can't remember clearly if it was mentioned from Hansie's mouth. That might have been an amount that we were just playing around with. And that's what I told Dr Bacher.

MR FITZGERALD: And did you inform Dr Bacher that Lance Klusener and Jacques had also been approached at the same time?

MR BOUCHER: I informed him that they were in the room, yes.

MR FITZGERALD: Hamied Banjo Cassim, do you know him at all?

MR BOUCHER: I know of him. I wouldn't be able to point him out in a crowd. I've got biltong from him once through Lance and that's basically it.

MR FITZGERALD: Has he ever approached you to fix a game or to do anything underhand?

MR BOUCHER: Never.

MR FITZGERALD: Very briefly, the Centurion Park test, what was your - you were also batting I believe overnight, what was your response to the proposed declaration?

MR BOUCHER: I was against it. I think the majority of the side were against it. Then obviously when we did declare it was a bit of a - it wasn't a shock to me because in the middle while I was batting there was a message that came out that we were going to declare. If I look at it now I would say, looking at how happy the crowd was, that there was actually a result and it was a close game of cricket. It was probably a good pull for crowds in test match cricket, and also the people, the commentators talking about it were actually quite happy that there was a result. I'd probably say it was a good thing for international cricket.

MR FITZGERALD: Finally can I deal with Herschelle Gibbs. I think it is common cause now on the 31st of May you consulted with Herschelle's legal representatives and your own legal representatives, is that correct?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: You were instrumental thereafter in talking to Herschelle.

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Where?

MR BOUCHER: At the Long Street Cafe.

MR FITZGERALD: And very briefly can you just tell the Commissioner what happened and what was the upshot of your conversation with Herschelle Gibbs.

MR BOUCHER: Donna Cummins and myself and Herschelle were at the Long Street Cafe. Donna then left to go home and I tried to - I basically felt that Herschelle was hiding something from me and I asked him whether he had been involved at all. He said "no". And then I said to him well if you've got something to say you had better say it now because if you are lying and caught then there's a possibility that you could be - you could go to jail. And he then told me that he's prepared to come clean. He did phone Henry Williams at the time as well and told Henry - I can't remember they were speaking in their coloured "lingo", and he basically told Henry that he's going to come clean. Then we phoned Hugh, Mike and Peter and Donna Cummins and then he came out and told us about the US$15,000.

MR FITZGERALD: Thank you. And finally, you've never been - sorry, and during the conversation that evening is it correct, do you recall that Henry Williams then also phoned Peter Whelan?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR FITZGERALD: Finally, have you ever been involved in anything like match-fixing?

MR BOUCHER: Never.

MR FITZGERALD: And I assume you would never do so?

MR BOUCHER: Never.

MR FITZGERALD: You regard it as an honour to play for South Africa?

MR BOUCHER: Indeed.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR FITZGERALD

COMMISSIONER: Mr Boucher just before I ask Mr Gauntlett or Mr Manco to ask you a few questions if they choose to do so just explain this to me, you say while you were out batting the message came through that a declaration was coming, was this at the time when you were batting with Klusener?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct. Before we went out we had no idea of it. It was mentioned but then it was passed in the team meeting before the actual day's play.

COMMISSIONER: What was the import of the message? When was the declaration to be taken?

MR BOUCHER: Well we were basically given orders to score 20 runs in four overs and I got out.

COMMISSIONER: Did the declaration in fact follow after four overs or was it dependent upon your remaining in?

MR BOUCHER: I think we got 22 runs and then the declaration was....

COMMISSIONER: In the four overs?

MR BOUCHER: I think it was five. I think Paul Adams batted after that.

COMMISSIONER: Mr Gauntlett?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR GAUNTLETT: Thank you Mr Commissioner.

Mr Boucher just three aspects. The first is that meeting just before the second five-day test against India in Bangalore this year when you were weak on the quantity surveying and you were awash with all this pasta, may I just be clear as to who came to that meeting because you say in your statement, meeting is the wrong word, you had a room full of pasta and then people, could you just help us who was there? You say-

"I recall approached inter alia Lance Klusener, Alan Donald, Nantie Hayward, Pieter Strydom and our captain, Hansie Cronje".

Does that mean they all came?

MR BOUCHER: Alan Donald came into the room. Nantie came in but then walked out straightaway because Pieter Strydom had also ordered a pasta before we had ordered our pasta, so they had food for the room already.

MR GAUNTLETT: So who ended up in the room?

MR BOUCHER: Myself, Jacques and Lance and Hansie.

MR GAUNTLETT: And the conversation to which you have referred took place only when Mr Klusener, Mr Kallis and you were there with Mr Cronje, that's right is it?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR GAUNTLETT: The second aspect concerns when you first learnt of Mr, as I have it, Mr Cronje's revelations and that was at the team meeting called by Mr Goolam Rajah on Tuesday the 11th of April this year. You say in your statement the players were absolutely shattered by this news, emotions ran very high, and I rather understand that some people took part in what became the voluntary practice and others didn't, what did that news do to the team? How did people react? How did individuals react?

MR BOUCHER: I think at first everyone was shocked and once it had basically hit home it was very disappointing. We all respect Hansie and for a guy to - of his stature to do something like that I suppose we were shocked and like I said disappointed, as a team, as a whole.

MR GAUNTLETT: And the last aspect Mr Boucher is the - your intervention with Mr Gibbs and through Mr Gibbs with Mr Williams, was it your understanding that it was you telling them very directly that, this is now two days before the, two working days before the Commission would start, very directly that they might go to jail if they lied, which was decisive in bringing them over as it were to telling the truth?

MR BOUCHER: Ja, well I basically said to Herschelle that it's against the law to lie in court, I think, I hope so ...(intervention)

COMMISSIONER: Assume it is.

MR BOUCHER: And basically that's what I said to him. And I said that he's got to come clean. He owes it to the side and to his country as well.

MR GAUNTLETT: And as I understand it they seemed to react to your intervention pretty well immediately and say to you that they would, as you put it, come clean. They didn't shilly-shally or fence around.

MR BOUCHER: No.

MR GAUNTLETT: Mr Boucher the United Cricket Board will always be grateful to its vice-captain for his moral leadership.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR GAUNTLETT

COMMISSIONER: Ms Batohi.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS BATOHI: Mr Boucher you testified that when you first heard about the 1996 offer it was mentioned as a joke when you got into the team. When would that have been?

MR BOUCHER: I think it was probably around my first Australian trip. I think it was '97, '98, it was like a joke that was just passed around the team. Guys were joking about it all the time, and that's how I got to hear about it.

MS BATOHI: So it was common knowledge, and certainly no secret?

MR BOUCHER: No, well it wasn't a secret as far as I can recall.

MS BATOHI: After the match at Centurion, the test against England, can you describe what the general feeling was in the team about having lost, particularly Hansie Cronje? Can you recall how he felt about the team having lost that test?

MR BOUCHER: I can't recall Hansie's, I can't remember looking at him and saying whether he was upset or happy or whatever. The team was obviously very disappointed. We are always disappointed if we do lose. So I can just basically comment on the team and the team were, yes, very disappointed.

MS BATOHI: Thank you. I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS BATOHI

COMMISSIONER: Mr Dickerson.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DICKERSON: Thank you Mr Commissioner.

Mr Boucher after you had unsuccessfully confronted the mound of pasta it was you who invited, and by you I mean the two of you, three of you, who invited Hansie Cronje into your room?

MR BOUCHER: That is correct.

MR DICKERSON: He didn't introduce or insert himself into that particular gathering?

MR BOUCHER: No.

MR DICKERSON: There are two aspects which arise from your statement which I don't think were canvassed. The first is you cannot recall, either having thought at the time or even now with the benefit of hindsight, having thought there were any decisions made by Cronje which were questionable?

MR BOUCHER: No.

MR DICKERSON: As far as Derek Crookes opening the bowling was concerned, in the last one-day international against India, do you agree with that decision?

MR BOUCHER: As far as I can remember that decision was made at a team meeting before the game, and I thought I - well I went along with the decision. I thought it was a good idea to try and change something as the Indian opening batsmen were getting off to good starts in the one-day games that we had played in. And also Kieran Moré, an ex-Indian wicketkeeper, had mentioned to Hansie that Sarif Ganguly, the Indian captain and opening batsman, was not a good sweeper of the ball.

MR DICKERSON: So that you agreed with that decision from a cricketing perspective?

MR BOUCHER: I did.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DICKERSON

COMMISSIONER: Re-examination Mr Fitzgerald?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR FITZGERALD: Just one question Mr Commissioner.

The fifth one-day test at Nagpur, that was the test that Herschelle Gibbs got 74 off 53 balls, do you remember how he was eventually dismissed?

MR BOUCHER: He was run out by me.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR FITZGERALD

COMMISSIONER: Not deliberately I hope.

Thank you Mr Boucher. We wish you and your team in Sri Lanka lots of luck and thank you for coming here to help us out.

WITNESS EXCUSED

COMMISSIONER: We will reconvene tomorrow morning at 9:30.

COMMISSION ADJOURNS AT 16H02

 


Related Links:

Cricinfo's Coverage of Match-Fixing Allegations