Editorial: Match-fixing? What a mess

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 21/05/2014

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Match-fixing. Finger-pointing. Talk of dark forces at work. What a mess.

And how disappointing and how embarrassing that New Zealand cricketers are implicated.

Damage has been done, regardless of the outcome.

What do we have so far?

An International Cricket Council investigation into match-fixing launched in December. A corresponding police investigation. Three New Zealand cricketers implicated. Lou Vincent, Chris Cairns, Daryl Tuffey.

Other players interviewed, including Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum.

How do we know? Because McCullum's evidence has been leaked.

Which is astonishing. And not just that the ICC has let it slip, but that it's come out in such a piecemeal fashion.

McCullum talks of a Mr X, a hero of his at the time, approaching him about match-fixing. He names dates, times.

The person who received the leak is British journalist Ed Hawkins, who knows who Mr X is but isn't telling. New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White also knows, but also isn't telling.

Unnamed sources point at Cairns, who initially screamed "not me", and called McCullum a liar. Late in the day he accepted he must be the Mr X everyone was talking about, but insisted he didn't do any wrong.

See, a mess.

And potentially it could get a lot worse.

If Cairns is charged and this goes to court, in whatever country it ends up in, McCullum may have to testify. Against his hero.

What a horrible thought.

There is so much else going on here. If Kiwis are taking bribes, is NZ Cricket not paying them enough, or is this pure greed?

If Kiwis are taking bribes it goes against everything we believe in in sport.

Pride in your country, yourself, dedication to the team. Us ... corrupt? No way.

Hold on to your hats.

And if Kiwis are taking bribes there will surely be others, so how deep does this go? How reliable is any cricket result? Should we bother watching any more?

What needs to happen now? For one, the ICC needs to discover whoever leaked the report, and expose them. It should also get on with things. The longer this goes on, the more damaging it is.

And, sadly, should this get to court, whoever it is in the dock must be dealt with severely. Even if he's a New Zealander.

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- The Timaru Herald

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