Cairns verdict disappointments the cricket experts

SANDIPAN GHOSH / 02 December 2015

World cricket experts are not happy over the verdict of Chris Cairns. Everybody agreed that it is a big blow for the world cricket in the fight against corruption.

The former all-rounder Chris Cairns was cleared from perjury and perverting case on Monday.

Cairns was alleged for match-fixing in the multiple matches during 2008 ICL (Indian Cricket League). The charges were strong when his former team-mates Brendon McCullum and Lou Vincent made comments against him.

Before this case, Lalit Modi had alleged against Cairns for being involved in the match-fixing during 2008 and later Modi lost that case.

The allegations against Cairns resurfaced in December 2013 when the ICC (International Cricket Council) confirmed it was investigating match-fixing claims involving three former New Zealand internationals.

New Zealand Herald journalist Dylan Cleaver, who originally broke the story that the ICC’s anti-corruption unit was investigating Cairns, said the result was a triumph for the former all-rounder.

He said, “Who’s going to want to be the next one to put their heads above the parapet and expose themselves to a skilled advocate who makes a living from shaping words to suit an argument?”

“Nobody, that’s who,” he concluded, noting that players who cooperated with investigators had confidential testimony leaked, then had their characters assassinated by defense lawyers.

Former England captain Mike Atherton wrote in The Times of London, “The verdict… could impact upon the sport’s fight against corruption, if, as a result, players think twice about whistle blowing and authorities long and hard about bringing cases to court,”

Cricket historian Gideon Haigh said the ICC anti-corruption unit already had failed credibility before the Cairns case, reminding the July acquittal of Indian paceman Sreesanth and two other players of spot-fixing.

Haigh said the case against Cairns was not helped by the fact that the prosecution’s star witness, former Kiwi batsman Lou Vincent, was a confessed match-fixer with a life ban from cricket.

He wrote in The Australian broadsheet.“After the collapse of the three IPL (Sreesanth) spot-fixing cases, the game’s anti-corruption ramparts, where they exist at all, appear decidedly porous”.

New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association chief Heath Mills said the case showed the police, not the ICC, needed to be in charge of investigating corruption.

Mills gave his opinion over the verdict in the commercial radio, “This is criminal activity. It’s run by significant mafia groups around the world. We need experts fighting that and with the powers to fight that.”

Radio New Zealand sports editor Stephen Hewson said the case had left New Zealand cricket’s reputation “tarnished but not tattered”.

He added, “Having said that, whenever there are upset results or out of the ordinary performances at cricket matches, there’s always that thought at the back of one’s mind – is that genuine?” 

“Hardly good for the ongoing reputation of the game.”

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