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CSA bans Thami Tsolekile, three others for fixing

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Thami Tsolekile; picture credit: Getty Images

Former South African Test wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile and three others have been banned by Cricket South Africa (CSA) for involvement in fixing matches or influencing the outcome of the game. The bans are ranging from seven to 12 years.

Tsolekile, who played the last of his three Tests against England at Port Elizabeth in 2004, received a 12-year ban for “contriving to fix a match or matches” in the 2015 Twenty20 domestic competition, the board said in a statement.

Pumelela Matshikwe, Ethy Mbhalati and Jean Symes were also sanctioned for accepting money from ex-international Gulam Bodi, who was banned for 20 years for fixing matches in Twenty20 tournmanet in January.

The charges and the sanctions:

Thami Tsolekile: 12-year ban for “contriving to fix” in the 2015 Ram Slam, and failing to disclose the full details of an approach.

Jean Symes: Seven-year ban for failing to disclose a payment “which he knew or ought to have known” was given to him to breach the anti-corruption code.

Ethy Mbhalati and Pumelela Matshikwe: Each received a ten-year ban for receiving a payment/incentive to fix in the 2015 Ram Slam, making an illegal payment, and failing to disclose a payment and approach to the anti-corruption unit.

“There is no evidence that this is widespread. We are fully confident that it is contained but will continue investigating,” CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat told a news conference at Newlands.

Details have also been passed to the South African police, he said. The bans follow a lengthy investigation by CSA’s anti-corruption unit.

“We take our work seriously. We need something serious to trigger an investigation. We do not engage in witch hunts. Our primary responsibility is to protect the integrity of the sport and no stone will be left unturned,” its chairman Bernard Ngoepe said.

Bodi, who was born in India and moved to South Africa as a teenager, played two one-day internationals and one Twenty20 match for the national side in 2007.

Tsolekile played three tests for South Africa in 2004.

South African government has passed a law, where match fixing and spot fixing are punishable with a prison sentence following the Hansie Cronje scandal that shook the cricketing world.

Cronje was SA’s former captain and was banned for life in 2000 after he admitted his role in fixing and taking money from bookmakers for underperforming. He died a tragic death, when his plane crashed.

ICC and CSA should be applauded for their tough stance against fixing and the game of cricket should remain sacrosanct.