Allan Donald (left) and Hansie Cronje during their playing days (Image courtesy: Getty)
Allan Donald (left) and Hansie Cronje during their playing days (Image courtesy: Getty)

Allan Donald was Hansie Cronje’s key weapon during South Africa’s march in the 1990s. The South African cricket team was a closely-knit unit with most players sharing a friendly bond. Cronje and Donald have been a part together of many happy dressing rooms but their friendship dates back to childhood.

Cronje was a successful captain of South Africa in the mid and late 1990s. He was found guilty of match-fixing in April 2000. He admitted to his crimes and earned a life ban from the sport. Cronje passed away in a plane crash on June 1, 2002. He was travelling in a cargo flight that crashed into mountains near his hometown of George.

On the 16th death anniversary of Cronje, Donald posted a tweet that read, “16 years ago you left us my brother. Every time when this day comes along I think about you and the times we had together as kids playing backyard cricket and rugby test matches. Missing you always Hansie you will never be forgotten. RIP.”

Donald was upset with Cronje after his involvement in match-fixing but he had repaired his relationship with his good friend. Cronje had then called up Donald and they had coffee together where the former wept like a baby.

At the time of Cronje’s death, Donald expressed his grief.

“I was at home when I got a call. You don’t believe these sorts of things so I immediately phoned Hansie’s mother. She was hysterical. We were like brothers. His brother Frans, Hansie and I would play cricket and rugby together and stay overnight.  All those memories flashed back when I heard the news,” was then quoted as saying.

Cronje was an exceptional leader of men and was a role model to many. He was only 32 when he breathed last.