A highly talented young batsman, occasional bowler and and excellent tactician, Cronje began his career at Free State, captaining them at age 21, and first playing for his country at 22. Appointed captain of South Africa in 1993, he led the side to test series victories against New Zealand and England. A devout Christian, who impressed as much with his demeanour off the field as his ability on, it came as a great shock to the cricketing world when, in April 2000, he confessed to being involved with the largest match fixing scandal yet uncovered, receiving gifts and money from bookmakers to influence the results of games. Convicted by the King Commission, he was banned from playing or coaching cricket.
Cronje found employment in a mining (?) company, and whilst travelling for work he was killed in a plane crash.
Cronje's native South Africa had at least partly forgiven him for his crimes, but the rest of the cricketing world most surely had not, particularly in South Asia where Cronje's corruption was a useful counterexample to the whispered belief in "white" cricket-playing nations that the corruption infecting the game was mainly an subcontinental issue. Before his death, it was occasionally whispered that Cronje and the South African cricketing hierarchy wished to see him return to the game in some form. Threats of boycotts of the South African team quickly ensued.