Ewie Cronje, father of former South African captain Hansie Cronje and a pioneer of women’s cricket in the country, died aged 80.
Ewie, who is survived by his wife San-Marie, elder son Frans, daughter Hester, their extended families and grandchildren, died on Monday after a long battle with cancer.
His younger son, Hansie, captain of the Proteas from 1994 to 2000, predeceased him.
Ewie played 27 first-class matches for Free State between 1960 and 1971 and served as president of Free State Cricket Union (FSCU) from 1983 to 1990.
“(He) has given a lifetime of service to cricket. He was a person of integrity who wanted to give fair opportunities to everyone involved in cricket regardless of their background,” said FSCU president Zola Thamae.
“I remember that he lobbied me in particular to come and start girls cricket way back in 1995 when we were both serving in the Free State Provincial Sport Council,” Zola said.
Cronje was honoured with the Khaya Majola Lifetime Award for service to cricket in 2012.
“He worked as an administrator at Free State University after he moved on from being a teacher at his beloved Alma Mater, Grey College, and had a lot to do with the growth of the university on the sports fields of South Africa,” said Cricket South Africa acting chief executive Jacques Faul.
Hansie, who was banned for life by the South African cricket authorities after being implicated in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, died in a plane crash in 2002.