I have been a full-time professional cricketer since 1988. I was a member of the South African cricket side from 1992 until the 11th of April 2000. I captained the South African cricket team for the third test of the Australian series in 1994 until the 11th of April 2000.
I played in a total of 68 test matches, 53 of which as captain. I also represented South Africa in 188 one day internationals, 138 of those as captain. 99 of the one day internationals under my captaincy, were victories.
It is time for me to try to repay a part of the enormous debt which I owe to cricket and to try to repair some of the damage which I have caused the game, South Africa, my family, and team mates and the cricketing public.
My initial denials of involvement made publicly and to the UCB, were untruthful. My letter of the 11th of April was also untruthful in a number of respects and so too was the subsequent press statement issued on my instructions. I misled the United Cricket Board of South Africa and members of the South African government and those who tried to defend me. I also withheld facts from my legal representatives. I was not honest and I apologise unreservedly.
I have also decided to sever my connections with the game, and will not again play cricket at representative level.
Words cannot begin to describe the shame, humiliation and pain which I feel in the knowledge that I have inflicted this on others, to my wife, Bertha, family, and team-mates in particular, I apologise.
The greatest honour which can bestowed upon any cricketer, is to lead his country's national side. I have failed in my moral and professional duties. Hopefully I can contribute some small measure of redress by placing before the Commission, the information which follows in the statement. Until now, I have not named or implicated any other person and I fear that the revelations in this statement, create serious implications for my personal safety. I have already received death threats.
I wish to disclose all the information I have, and in the emotional state in which I find myself, have dredged my memory as best I can in order to place the facts before this Commission.
Since the first revelations made in the Indian press, and in particular the morning of April 11th of this year, I have known that my days as a cricketer are over. There were however, others, namely Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom and Henry Williams, who have their playing careers before them, and whose futures have been imperilled by my inexcusable actions. Foolishly I tried to suppress disclosure of their involvement and in doing so, encouraged Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams to conceal their role. I hope to save them from their predicament in which I had placed them. Instead I compromised them and worsened their position. It would be a tragedy if any of these players were to be lost to South African cricket, because of my wrongdoing. I beg the Commission and the cricketing authorities not to deprive the game of their talents and beg the United Cricket Board to reinstate both Herschelle and Henry to the national side or squad. Herschelle lied to the United Cricket Board, his employer, at my request. Herschelle, forgive me.
I will attempt to deal with the matters which form the subject of this Commission's terms of reference in chronological order and not in the order in which they appear in the terms of reference. Before doing so, however, I would like to deal with an approach I received to influence the result of the first one day international against Pakistan in the Mandela Trophy in January 1995. Pat Symcox mistakenly said in his evidence before the Commission that this occurred in 1997.
Shortly before the first one day international final against Pakistan in the Mandela Cup in Cape Town in January 1995, I was approached by an Indian or Pakistani man who described himself only as John. I believe he may be the individual of the same name who was referred to by Shane Warne and Mark Waugh during the hearings before the Australian Cricket Board. He offered an amount, I think about $10 000 for the team to throw the game. I subsequently discussed this with Pat Symcox. We agreed, we should not even put it to the team and that was the end of the matter. I did not approach any other players, in the event South Africa won that match.
I recall that when I walked onto the field for the match, I was asked by Salim Malik whether I had spoken to John. It was evident to me that he knew about the approach I had received. I felt ashamed and embarrassed and wishing to avoid even talking about the matter, merely nodded.
Before the second one day final in Johannesburg, I was again contacted by John who asked if anything could be done in respect of the second game. I told him I was not interested. We also won that game and I never spoke to him again.
I have subsequently heard rumours that Pakistani players had been involved in match-fixing during the Mandela Cup and in Zimbabwe in 1995. South Africa had not been.
During our tour in Pakistan in 1994, Kepler Wessels told me that he knew of offers which had been made to Australian cricketers to lose a test match in Karachi. I do not know whom.
At some stage during the 1996 Indian tour, I cannot recall exactly when, I was also approached by someone known to me as "Sunil". He had befriended some members of the team earlier that year during the Sharjah Cup. Sunil asked me if I was interested in fixing matches. I said I was not. No offers or financial proposals were received from him.
On the evening of the third day of the third test against India at Kanpur, I received a call from Mohamed Azharuddin, who was friendly with a number of South African players. He called me to a room in a the hotel and introduced me to Mukesh Gupta, otherwise known as "MK". Azharuddin then departed and left us alone in the room. "MK" asked if we would give wickets away on the last day of that test to ensure that we lost. He asked me to speak to the other players and gave me approximately $30 000 in cash, to do so. I led him to believe that I would. This seemed an easy way to make money, but I had no intention of doing anything. I did not speak to any of the other players and did nothing to influence the match. In the event, however, we lost the test match. I had effectively received money for doing nothing, and I rationalised to myself that this was somehow acceptable because I had actually done nothing, hadn't done anything.
Before the final One-day international, MK asked me to speak to the players about throwing the game, which I agreed to do. By that stage, we were exhausted, it was the end of a long and arduous tour and a number of key players were suffering from injuries. MK asked me to convey an offer of US$200 000 to the team to throw the match. It was a long time ago and I cannot recall the exact sequence of the events, but as far as I can recall, it was as follows:
I spoke to some of the players beforehand, advising that a team meeting would be called to consider the offer.
A team meeting was held the evening before the match, attended by all the players in the squad. I conveyed the offer to the team, which rejected it. I recall in particular that Andrew Hudson, Daryll Cullinan and Derek Crookes spoke out strongly against it. It was agreed that the decision had to be unanimous or not at all.
After the meeting a few players remained and we chatted about the matter. We were curious to see whether the offer could be increased. I telephoned MK and told him the team was not interested, but asked whether he was prepared to increase his offer to $300 000. He replied that this was too much, but that he would increase it to $250 000.
The next morning, before the match, there was a brief meeting at which it was confirmed that the offer was rejected. When Mr Woolmer, the coach, heard about the offer, he was very angry about it. He was later quoted in the media about this offer and its rejection.
I then telephoned MK and told him that the offer was rejected. No money passed hands. I did, however, tell him that the team was sub-standard because of the number of injured players. I received no benefit or offer of payment for this information.
I had no further dealings with MK, John or any other bookmakers or punters on that tour. However, when Indian toured South Africa at the end of 1996, early 1997, MK came to South Africa. He was in Durban for the first test and in Cape Town for the second test. I am still not sure whether MK is a bookmaker or a punter. I believe however, that he was one of the bookmakers referred to in Dr Bacher's statement who were in the Presidential Suite.
I was asked by MK to provide information in respect of the first and second tests, on which I understood he wished to place bets. I understood that MK would pay me an unspecified amount, if he won anything. The amount would depend on his winnings.
In respect of the first test, I supplied him with the team selections and a daily forecast.
In respect of the second test, I was only asked to tell him when and at what score we would declare. I did this. After the second test MK transferred a sum of about US$50 000 into my NBS savings account, Bloemfontein branch, account number 2250 - there is a mistake on the letter - it is 2250054526.
South Africa won both the first and second tests in this series and the third was drawn. None of these results were fixed or manipulated.
MK had asked me to speak to the players about losing the third test and promised to pay me US$300 000 if I did so, but I refused.
After the 1996/1997 Indian tour to South Africa, MK contacted me on a few occasions. He requested information, I think this was during the quadrangular One-day international series in Pakistan, involving South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies (there is another mistake on ..) - I refused. I cannot recall speaking to MK again.
I do not recall any further contact with or from bookmakers or punters until the fifth test against England at Centurion Park earlier this year.
The facts which I recall in respect of this term of reference are set out here:
The fifth test match between England and South Africa, was held at Centurion Park from the 14th to the 18th of January 2000. Play commenced, but was interrupted by protracted rain and it became clear that it would play out to a draw. The match in itself was not significant, as the series had already been won.
On the fourth day during the rain interruption, a meeting was held between myself, Nasser Hussein, the English captain, Dr Ali Bacher, the match umpires and the match referee in the library of the Northern Titans. Dr Bacher was anxious to save the game as a spectacle, there was pressure to turn it into a One-day international, but this was apparently not possible, because of a clash of sponsors - the test matches and the one day internationals have different sponsors in South Africa.
Thereafter on the evening of the fourth day, I received a call on my cellphone. The caller identified himself as Marlin Aronstam, I am not sure of the spelling, I do not know where he got my cellphone number and I had not previously heard of or spoken to him.
We chatted for a while. Marlin said that he was a cricket lover and wanted to see action on the field. He said that my image as a captain was poor, and that I was being perceived as a conservative and negative captain. We also spoke about my recent form, which had not been good - I had two ducks in a row at that stage, in test matches. Marlin urged me to speak to Nasser Hussein, the English captain, about an early declaration, to make a contest of it, saying this would be good for both me and for cricket. This is something which is often done for example in county cricket, in which each side forfeits one innings. It had never been done in a test match.
Marlin revealed that he was involved with NSI, a listed company, which I now know to be involved in sports betting. I did not know this at the time, and only became aware of it in April of this year.
Marlin said that if we declared and made a game of it, he would give R500 000 to a charity of my choice and would also give me a gift. We did not discuss either which charity or what the gift would be. He asked whether we could meet at my hotel, which we did that night. He wanted to call Nasser Hussein, who was in the same hotel, up to my room. I refused, because I did not want him to be involved. We spoke about cricket and the Centurion test. I was impressed by his knowledge of cricket. H he said a forfeit by each side would be a positive move for cricket. He genuinely sounded as though he wanted to see a cricket contest and I was not asked to influence other players to perform badly or to influence the result. Marlin's suggestion seemed to make perfect sense from an entertainment point of view. It was nevertheless wrong for me to have entertained the offer of a gift for doing something in respect of which I was required to make an independent decision as captain.
Marlin had asked me to call and let him know if and when we decided to declare. The morning of the fifth day, the question was raised and discussed by the respective team coaches and captains. The England team and management seemed reluctant and I called Marlin and left a message that there would be no declaration. Play in the test was resumed, but about 45 minutes into the match, I received a message from Nasser Hussein that the English were now interested in a competitive declaration. There were discussions between the two teams about a realistic target to be set and once this was settled, it was agreed that we would declare. There were mixed views within the team about the declaration. Some members were opposed and others were in favour. I think it was the correct decision.
I then sent an SMS message, which is an electronic printed message sent by cellphone, to Marlin, advising that the game is on, or words to that effect. He subsequently told me that it had been impossible for him to get any bets on the game, as he had been advised too late to do so.
The match was a closely fought encounter with a lot of action which made for good entertainment. Had Paul Adams not been injured during play on that day, I believe we would almost certainly have won. Dr Bacher called me the following morning to thank me for saving what would have been a disastrous test, so did Mike Procter and Richard Harrison, the President of the Northern Titans.
After the game Marlin visited me at the Sandton Sun, I think it was the following evening, where we were staying, and gave me a leather jacket and R50 000 in two cash amounts, 30 000 and 20 000 on consecutive days.
I believed this to be the gift that he had spoken of. He said it was in consideration of me giving him information in the future but did not specify what the information would be. The R500 000 which had been promised to a charity of my choice did not materialise and was never mentioned again.
I should never have entertained the discussions with Marlin and it was wrong to have accepted anything from him. It has only served to discredit what I believe was recognised as a good move for cricket. I was not asked by Marlin or anybody else, to throw, lose or otherwise fix any results or performances in the Centurion test. The declaration was a genuine attempt to save the game as a spectacle, which was agreed to by both teams. I was also anxious, because of my bad form, to have an opportunity to gain public support. I truly believed that we could win the test, given the declaration, and requested Pieter Strydom to try and place a R50-00 bet on South Africa to win. He was unable to do so. The match delivered a genuine result and was in no way manipulated, but that of course does not justify my conduct.
The day before the first one day international against Zimbabwe at the Wanderers, on the 20th of January 2000, I was approached on my way to the nets at the Wanderers, by an individual who I only know as Hamied. He had been a regular hanger-on around the team for a few years, and was also handing out biltong for team members and asking for tickets. I have subsequently discovered his full name is Hamied Cassim. He is known, not by the players but apparently in his own circles as Banjo, and runs a sweet shop in Johannesburg. I am also aware that Hamied is a friend of Mohamed Azharuddin.
Hamied said that if he had only known that I was going to declare in the Centurion Park test, he could have made himself some good money. My response was "why didn't you ask".
At the beginning of February, I travelled with the team to the Beverley Hills Intercontinental Hotel at Umhlanga Rocks. We were due to play the fourth One-day international in the series against Zimbabwe in Durban on the 2nd of February. Hamied was at the hotel when we arrived and he introduced me to a man known to me only as Sanjay, who he said was from London. I was not told that he was a bookmaker, and thought that he was a punter.
Hamied and Sanjay indicated that Sanjay wanted me to supply them with information, but did not specify what this information would be. They also said that I could make a lot of money if we would lose a match. I said that I was not prepared to do it, unless we were assured of a place in the final of the Triangular series. I was spinning them along as I do not think that I had any real intention of throwing a match. Sanjay handed me a cellphone box containing US dollars in case I changed my mind.
I did not count the money which was kept in a filing cabinet at home, together with my prize money from the World Cup, the Kenyan tour and left over sustenance allowances. It was subsequently counted, not by me, on the 11th of April, when I confessed to receiving it. I was told that it was between, it was about $10 000 to $15 000.
It is difficult to say with certainty which of the monies kept in the filing cabinet had come from Sanjay, because that money was kept together with dollars derived from my winnings and allowances and advance payments I had received in respect of players' signing on fees, deposits and travel allowances for what proved to be an aborted benefit tour to the sub-continent in April of this year.
All of these monies were handed over to the Reserve Bank, through my attorney. I am told that they amounted in all to US$10 000, plus a further sum of about US$37 000. This sum of $37 000 was made of, up in the following manner:
On or about the 15th of February 2000, I had received in advance $25 000 in Bloemfontein, as an advance on the payments due to the South African players participating in the benefit matches. The payment was for the signing on fees, the deposit and the travel costs of the players. I annex a certificate from the promoter, who arranged this series, confirming this. The payment was made in Bloemfontein, in cash.
The balance of the dollars was the residue of my World Cup and Kenya winnings and sustenance allowances, which I would have converted to dollars. It may have also included dollars left over from previous tours and overseas trips.
It was not initially my intention to throw any games or to fix results. Driven by greed and stupidity, and the lure of easy money, I thought that I could feed Sanjay information and keep the money without having to do anything or to influence matches. In fact there were no manipulation of games or results in South Africa, and I supplied no information in respect of matches in South Africa.
I realise now that the purpose of the payment was to "hook" me for the Indian tour. As set out below, on the Indian tour in February and March 2000, I was increasingly pushed to manipulate results and found that I had got into something from which it was very difficult to get out.
In India I was contacted by Sanjay, who gave me a local simcard so that he could call me for information, which would also be helpful for internet connectivity and E-mails. This was not compatible with my cellphone and could not be used. I later received a cellphone, or a handset, sent up to my room, with which it was compatible.
I initially had no intention of involving other players, and thought that I could satisfy Sanjay by accurately forecasting outcomes. Sanjay was not satisfied with this and pressured me to speak to some of the players to manipulate results. In the build-up to the tests the pressure on me increased. I received calls on a regular basis from Hamied and Sanjay. Even when the cellphone was switched off, calls would come through to my room as late as two and three o'clock in the morning. I felt increasingly trapped. I had already taken money from Sanjay and it became increasingly difficult to resist his requests to speak to other team members and manipulate results.
During the Indian tour Marlin also phoned on a few occasions to encourage the team to win and to congratulate us on wins, but apart from general discussion, did not request information or offer me anything.
I spoke to Pieter Strydom before the first test in India in Mumbai, his account of this discussion contained in his written statement to the Commission, is correct. At the time of speaking to him, I was already wracked with guilt and his remarks about doing his best for South Africa, shamed me and in no way indicated that he was interested in receiving money. I did not speak to any other members of the team. Thereafter I tried to pass off the whole incident with Strydom, as a joke.
Under further pressure from Sanjay I subsequently made feint attempts to approach other players in respect of the second test. I spoke to Kallis, Boucher and Klusener. Their rebuffs were immediate, but I think they thought I was joking. I did not approach any other players in respect of the test matches and the results in the second test, and subsequent tests, were not manipulated.
I then told Sanjay that perhaps I could do something in the first one day international in India, thinking that if we could get the match out of the way, that might satisfy them. My intention was not to involve other players, but merely to forecast which way the match was going to go, looking at the pitch and conditions. Sanjay was adamant however, that this could not be done so I suggested that I would speak to some of the other players, lying to him to get rid of him after the match.
I ignored Sanjay and Hamied the night before the first One-day at Cochin but then I was phoned the next morning and urged to go ahead. I told them we would lose and I had spoken to other players, which was untrue. We were supposed to lose the match, but I couldn't go through with it. I decided that I couldn't not try and would give it my best shot. As it happened, we got 301/3 and I got 19 off 20 balls, but India won quite comfortably after Hayward was injured. I honestly tried to win the match, even at that stage, and believe we would have done so, if Hayward was not injured.
When I got back to the hotel Sanjay was upset because we had scored too many runs. I blamed the Indian wicketkeeper for three chances that he missed, obviously not revealing that the South African players concerned, had not been involved and in fact none of them knew anything about the matter. I did not receive any money for that match, I believe Sanjay lost money.
Hamied kept phoning me and saying that I should speak to Sanjay who was now worse off than before, and that he needed to win some money and that I would have to deliver something. So intense had the incessant nagging become, that I was pressured to fabricate a story that the players were angry with me for not getting their money. He said "not to worry, he would make up for it during the rest of the On- day series". However, no other players and none of the One-day matches were involved, except for discussions with Gibbs and Williams in respect of the fifth One-day international, which I will deal with in due course.
During the second, third and fourth One-day games I was really only forecasting what I thought would happen, as I wanted to win the series. I received no money and tried my best throughout.
The pressure on me to produce information and results, was increasing. I was not only being repeatedly phoned by Hamied, but also by Sanjay. I tried to deal with this by lying about having spoken to players and done things which I had not in fact done. I cannot recall all the names that I mentioned, and cannot remember all the figures and amounts.
I cannot recall all the conversations, the times and dates and what was said on each occasion. Also a great deal of what I told Sanjay was untruthful, particularly about the involvement of other players.
Prior to the third one day international, I had untruthfully told Sanjay that Bojé, Strydom and Gibbs were involved. He therefore wanted to know if they would be playing in the third One-day international and if further players could be involved. The first portion of Annexure BAW2 to Wilkinson-Luck's statement, if it is an accurate transcript, probably concerns this conversation.
A discussion with Sanjay took place the night before the fifth One-day international during which we discussed Gibbs' score, a total of 270 runs and Williams' bowling figures. If the results were as agreed, Sanjay was to pay US$140 000 into my NatWest bank account.
Since playing for Leicestershire in 1995, I have had a bank account at NatWest Bank, Granby Street, Leicester. This was used for my foreign earnings.
None of the results, including the fifth One-day international at Nagpur, on the 19th of March 2000 dealt with below, were fixed. No money changed hands in respect of any of the matches in India, all of which were true results. That applies also to the fifth One day game, despite the earlier agreement to manipulate the result.
By the end of the tour I was under severe pressure to provide some results and my attempts to string Sanjay along were no longer effective. He and Hamied had become increasingly upset by the fact that I had not delivered the required results, in consequence of which they had been losing more and more money.
The morning of the fifth One-day match at Nagpur Sanjay phoned me and urged me to go ahead with fixing the match, and I gave in. I told him that I would go ahead. I was required to ensure that Gibbs would score less than 20 runs, that Williams would bowl poorly and go for more than 50 runs during his 10 overs, and that the total score should be no more than 270 runs. I was to be paid for doing this. I spoke to Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams as described by them in their testimony.
The fifth One-day international was not fixed or thrown. Although it appears strange in the light of what I have already said, once we went onto the field, we were not able to carry out the plan. I know that Herschelle batted as well as he could, the offer quite clearly went out of his mind once he walked onto the field, and in fact it was one of the best knocks that I have seen him play. He scored 74 off 53 balls and Henry Williams, until his injury, bowled well. At lunch I told Williams that we must win the game and that we should give our best. I tried my best and scored 38 runs off 31 balls before falling to a very good catch of Raoul Dravid. We not only scored more than 270 runs, but the total of 320 was South Africa's highest One-day score against India.
Whilst this does not retract from what I have done for the game I do believe that once we set foot on the field we could not go through with it and did our best, as indicated by Herschelle's unbelievable run-out to win us the game.
I have not spoken to Sanjay since the Indian tour and apart from the money I received from him in Durban, received no payments from him or Hamied.
After the 2000 Indian tour, whilst I was in Dubai for the Sharjah Cup in March of this year, I was again contacted by Hamied. He indicated that Sanjay wished to resume contact with me along the same lines as in India. I had by now developed sufficient resolve to put it all behind me, and told him that I was not interested. I thereafter had no contact with Hamied, after the incident described above, until the 7th of April, when I telephoned him and told him that news of what had happened in relation to the One-day games in India, had broken.
Sunil was around and about during the Sharjah Cup asking for the odd bit of information and news on the team. He never paid me or offered me any payment or benefit and nor did I receive anything from him. I gave him nothing out of the ordinary.
The night before the final of the Sharjah Cup, I received a phone call from a man who did not name himself, who wanted to speak to me in the Team Room about a promotion. He enquired whether Lance Klusener and I would promote some of his products and tried to set up a meeting early the next day. He also said that he was willing to give US$100 000 now and US$100 000 after the match if we would play badly. I told him we were not interested. This was never conveyed to Lance Klusener.
I apologise to the officials and members of the Department of Sport, including the Minister of Sport, for the embarrassment which my conduct has occasioned.
On the morning of the 11th of April I knew and decided that I could no longer live with myself or with the situation that I had created. I wished to unburden myself, however, I had created problems for other people and players and it was not only a question of myself. I truly wished to protect those players whom I had compromised and found myself torn between conflicting emotions and responsibilities. I must, however, acknowledge that I was also activated by a measure of self-interest.
As set out above and in the written statement by Pieter Strydom, I attempted to place a R50-00 bet on South Africa winning the truncated fifth test against England at Centurion Park. The only other bet which I have made in cricket, was during the World Cup when I placed 1 pound on South Africa to win at 4:1 odds.
I hope that my experience will serve as a lesson to all other cricket players and administrators.
My only consolation is the knowledge that despite my inexcusable behaviour, South Africa has in fact never thrown or fixed a match.
I cannot exaggerate the level of temptation which is placed in front of a cricketer who is offered money for doing or not doing what can easily be presented as furnishing information. Once money has been accepted, even for what appears to have been something innocuous, one is compromised and it becomes difficult to turn back.
I think a serious effort should be made to educate and warn players, particularly before tours to the sub-continent, of the dangers posed by sports betting and gamblers. Most young professional cricket players have little experience of the hard realities of commerce and the gambling world. They are easy prey.
As long as there is gambling on sporting events, legal or otherwise, players will continue to be approached, pressured and tempted. I was wrong in succumbing and worse, I encouraged others to be drawn in and to try and cover up. I do think it is important however, that every effort should be made to prevent it from happening again. Team hotels, change rooms, and practice areas should be monitored to ensure that gamblers and hangers-on, are not afforded direct access to players. The players should be briefed, properly briefed, and prepared about the risks and problems so that they can deal with the inevitable approaches, which they will receive and the cricketing authorities need to impose management procedures to try and redress the problem.