Dion Nash believes the cricket fraternity have hung Chris Cairns out to dry.
A former New Zealand captain and selector, Nash has spoken out in support of Cairns and fellow ex-Black Caps Daryl Tuffey and Lou Vincent.
In December the trio's names were linked to an investigation into match-fixing by the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. Nothing official has been sighted since, nor have prominent parties in the New Zealand game voiced great concern at the players' plight.
That disappoints Nash, who believes people of his ilk have a collegial responsibility to publicly back Cairns and company.
"The silence has been deafening. To watch a guy who you played alongside and have so much respect for go through this is really hard," Nash said of Cairns.
"As a cricket community in New Zealand we need to be doing more. I don't think we're doing enough to help him out and it's like he's guilty until proven innocent.
"We've allowed rumour an innuendo and the gossip-machine to take over and to a large degree, as a cricket community, we've behaved like a bunch of gossipers. But I'm still yet to see a single fact that points to anything.
"Until that day happens, goodness, surely shouldn't we be around him and where are the facts here? Why is his name out there in the press? Why is Daryl Tuffey's name in the press? Why is Lou Vincent's name in the press? Give us something, otherwise we've just got three guys being crucified."
Nash and Cairns were New Zealand team-mates for a decade and remain firm friends. Nash said Cairns feels as if "the cricket world and, in particular, the New Zealand cricket world have turned their back on him".
But Nash won't. He's looked Cairns in the eye and asked him is there's any substance to the rumours of match or spot-fixing and is satisfied there's not.
"I take Chris' word and that's good enough for me. I just know the guy. I know when I played with him nothing ever happened. That, along with his word, is good enough for me."
Vincent issued a statement when the allegations came to light, while Tuffey has kept his own counsel. Cairns, however, has loudly proclaimed his innocence, which could sit uncomfortably with some people.
"What if it was you or it was me? Put yourself in the same situation. How do you fight it? How do you fight a bad rumour?," asked Nash.
"If you're the guy being accused of something and there's a groundswell of rumour, how do you fight it? I don't know. I'd hate to be in that situation. A lot of commentators say there's no smoke without fire, well show us the fire.
"It's pretty hard for him to show evidence, it's up to the accusers to show evidence. At the moment it feels like a smear campaign."
Cairns won a libel case against former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi in 2012, after Modi connected Cairns to match fixing in the rival Indian Cricket League. The judge found Modi could not provide any reliable evidence that Cairns had been involved in any kind of fixing.
* Cairns is a columnist in some Fairfax publications
- © Fairfax NZ News
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