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Johnstone: Cricket must first look in the mirror

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 25/05/2014
Lou Vincent
Getty Images
CHARGED: Former Black Cap Lou Vincent has been charged with fixing two cricket matches in England.

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New Zealand Cricket's "dismay" at the leaks that have presented a torrent of match-fixing allegations engulfing players who have worn their treasured black cap is laughable.

OPINION: So is the International Cricket Council's belated abhorrence that highly sensitive documents escaped their grip.

In years gone by a black cap was associated with a judge delivering a death sentence. That's how it feels for cricket in New Zealand and around the world right now in what is turning into a trial by media.

As long as there is a juicy story, the media will do everything they can to get it into the public domain.

If the authorities are content to take their time with the house-cleaning, the media will do their best to sweep the dirt out from under the carpet.

They will push their sources to the limit to unveil topics that are newsworthy.

Yes, it is unfortunate that the evidence of Brendon McCullum, given in confidence to the game's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), found itself in the public domain.

In an ideal world that wouldn't happen. But cricket isn't an ideal world right now and clearly hasn't been for some time.

It's a cesspit of deceit where the public has been betrayed far more than the honesty of McCullum who, everyone stresses, hasn't been implicated in this horrendous saga.

That someone from within the ICC's ranks leaked explosive evidence to Britain's Daily Mail is an obvious reflection of some dissatisfaction within cricket's corridors of power.

That person saw the need to air the dirty laundry from a washing process that has already taken far too long.

And by all accounts, there is still no end in sight for a scandal that could surpass Lance Armstrong's doping debacle.

Cricket has made much of its righteous fight against corruption in recent years.

The reality is, they've had little success. That's why the media has taken this matter into their own hands.

It's time the fans of the "gentleman's game" got a bit of perspective.

Cricket doesn't always help itself.

The scale of what is unravelling suggests the game has lacked the manpower or the expertise to effectively fight against the greed of gambling. Consider the latest suggestions that reforms to the ACSU's reporting lines will see them directed to the ICC's chairman-in-waiting N Srinivasan rather than the chief executive Dave Richardson.

Srinivasan is currently suspended as the Indian chairman while an investigation continues into alleged corruption in the Indian Premier League.

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How can the media not be sceptical of cricket? How can the public not second guess everything they are forced to pay to watch?

How can the sport not expect leaks from people who genuinely have the game's best interest at heart?

Cricket needs to clean up this mess quickly. The longer it festers the more people with honest intentions will have their names muddied through association.

But don't hold your breath.

- Sunday News

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