The date was 15 May 1999 and the location was the County Cricket Ground in Hove, England. The second match of the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup was being played between India and South Africa.
In which India won the toss and decided to bat first. Indian team openers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly came to the ground to start the innings. On the other hand, the South African team under Hansie Cronje also entered the field for fielding.
Shortly after the start of the match, an unexpected incident was witnessed on the field. Sachin and Sourav realized in the middle of the match that South African captain Hansie Cronje and bowler Allen Donald were talking to someone despite standing alone. By then the commentators also started talking about it. After this, everything became clear when Cronje and Donald’s face were repeatedly shown on the TV screen.
Actually, Cronje and Donald had earpieces in their ears, with the help of which they were in contact with someone outside and were constantly talking. It seemed that someone sitting outside the ground was giving them directions. During this time, Hansie and Donald’s ears were repeatedly shown on TV with earpieces attached to them.
Hansie Cronje and Allen Donald
Meanwhile, Sachin and Sourav also understood the whole scene and the two immediately talked to current on-field umpires, Steve Bucknor and David Shepherd. The umpire immediately called Cronje and asked for clarification. Cronje also made it clear that he was talking to coach Bob Woolmer through the earpiece. After this, Umpire also got confused because nothing was written in the rule book of cricket for this type of situation. Apparent immediately spoke to match referee Talat Ali but the dilemma was still intact as he too had no idea about it.
After this, match referee Talat Ali came to the ground at Drinks and spoke to Hansie Cronje. Talat Ali said that even though Cronje has not broken any rules of cricket. But whatever he did is wrong according to the game and he will have to remove the earpiece.
The match was restarted after the incident and India batting first scored 253 runs, losing 5 wickets in the allotted 50 overs. In response, South Africa won the match with 4 wickets in 47.2 overs. Africa may have won this match, but they faced a lot of criticism for this wrong act.
Case of Fixing on Hansie Cronje
After this match, it was revealed that the idea of using earpieces during the match was of coach Bob Woolmer. After the 1999 World Cup ended, Woolmer resigned as a coach. On the other hand, Hansie Cronje was found guilty in match-fixing case and a year after the incident and died in a plane crash in 2002.