Born in Bloemfontein, Cronje matriculated in 1987 from the celebrated Grey College academy in Bloemfontein. An accomplished all annular sportsman, he represented the afresh Orange Free State in candid and rugby at schools level. Cronje additionally went to the University of Orange Free State and there he larboard with a Bachelor of Commerce.
His ancestor Ewie had played for Orange Free State in the 1960s, and Hansie's earlier brother Frans had additionally played capital cricket.
In 1993/94 there was addition Castle Cup/Total Power Alternation bifold for Orange Free State. In all-embracing candid he was called as vice-captain for the bout of Australia admitting actuality the youngest affiliate of the squad. In the aboriginal ODI of the triangular clash with New Zealand and Australia he guided South Africa to achievement adjoin Australia with 91* which won him the man of the bout award. He denticulate 71 in a rain afflicted aboriginal Test at Melbourne afore a close additional Test that South Africa won by 5 runs, an abrasion to captain Kepler Wessels meant Cronje was captain for the final day of the match. Between the additional and third Tests the one-day clash continued, now with Cronje as captain, South Africa fabricated the final alternation but absent it 2-1 to Australia. He became South Africa's second-youngest Test captain, afterwards Murray Bisset in 1898-99, back he led the aggregation for the third Test at Adelaide but it was an bootless alpha to his captaincy career as the alternation was squared.
In February 1994 there was the acknowledgment alternation as Australia toured South Africa. Cronje started the ODI alternation with array of 112, 97, 45 and 50* and back Australia played Orange Free State in their final bout afore the aboriginal Test, Cronje hit 251 off 306 balls, 200 of these came on the final day in which 294 runs were added, admitting this Orange Free State absent the match. In the aboriginal Test at Johannesburg he added addition aeon as South Africa won by 197 runs. This innings was the end of a 14 day aeon in which he'd denticulate 721 runs adjoin the Aussies. However, he bootless to ability fifty in the abutting two Tests and four ODIs as both alternation were drawn.
There was addition fatigued alternation back South Africa toured England in 1994, Cronje scoring aloof one aeon on the accomplished bout and denticulate alone 90 runs in the three-Test series. In October 1994, South Africa afresh came up adjoin Australia, in a triangular one-day alternation additionally featuring Pakistan, Cronje denticulate 354 runs at an boilerplate of 88.50 but admitting this South Africa absent all their matches. This alternation was Bob Woolmer's aboriginal as drillmaster and Kepler Wessels' aftermost as captain. Cronje who'd ahead been vice-captain was called as captain for the Test alternation with New Zealand in 1994/95.