Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Tuesday imposed an eight-year ban on Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was caught attempting to fix matches in the 2015-16 domestic T20 Ram Slam tournament.
The former Proteas and Highveld Lions bowler admitted contraventions of the CSA Anti-Corruption Code. This confession followed an exhaustive investigation in cooperation with the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit.
Recently, five other players have also been sanctioned under the CSA’s anti-corruption code: Jean Symes, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe, Thami Tsolekile and Alviro Petersen. All of them have admitted contraventions and have been banned for periods that vary between two to twelve years.
Tsotsobe admitted one charge of contriving to fix a match in the 2015 Ram Slam; two charges of failing to disclose to the CSA Anti-Corruption Officer the full details regarding the investigation; three charges of failing or refusing to cooperate with the investigation; and two charges of obstructing or delaying the investigation by destroying evidence and obscuring relevant information.
According to CSA’s Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, "Whilst no fix actually took place, it is clear that he was active in plans to participate in spot fixing and hence the sanction imposed on him."
Talking about the ban and the investigation, Tsotsobe said, "I wish to apologise to cricket lovers all over the world. I was, at the time, in a very vulnerable financial state and this dilemma too easily persuaded me to participate in spot fixing. There are no words to describe the regret I have in relation to my actions and I hope that the cricket world could consider my apology and understand my deepest feeling of remorse."
The ban will run for eight years from 24 April 2017, the date on which Tsotsobe was provisionally suspended from professional cricket.
A brilliant career with a dreadful ending
The 33-year-old Tsotsobe was once ranked the No.1 ODI bowler in the world. He received his first ODI call-up for the South Africa on 30 January 2009, taking 4 for 50 against Australia in Perth. A performance good enough to earn him a central contract.
Tsotsobe was part of the South African squad for the 2011 World Cup, in which the Proteas reached the quarter-finals.
He also bowled for South Africa in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy, the 2012 ICC World T20, the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2014 ICC World T20.
His Test debut was against the West Indies in June 2010, which South Africa won by 163 runs.
Through an 11-year professional career, Tsotsobe has played for some of the major South African Cricket teams, including Warriors, Eastern Province and Dolphins. He also represented the Essex Cricket Club for a short while in 2011.
With an eight-year ban, it is very unlikely that Tsotsobe will return to play cricket at a professional level.