The corrupting of sport to me with money and bribes is one of the lowest and most morally and legally wrong things that has ever been invented. I say this on the grounds of the idea that sports are about the physical excellence and prowess of our individual athletes – it matters not whether they can throw a shot put a record distance or turn out the fast 200 metre butterfly you will ever see in the pool. Nations take pride in their sportsmen and women, and New Zealand, tiny nation that it is is absolutely no exception to the rule.
So you can imagine my disgust that the great sport of cricket, which I spend quite a bit of time watching during summer is currently the subject of a match fixing scandal. Yes the jury is still taking evidence on what Lou Vincent, a former New Zealand cricket player and another former New Zealand cricket player named Chris Cairns may or may not have done, with regards to claims that Mr Cairns was involved in match fixing – i.e. paid a sum to throw a match or key aspects of the match in order to ensure that the other side wins. Yes, Mr Vincent may be trying to get back at Mr Cairns, after being tainted himself just over a year ago with claims of corruption that unfortunately proved to be true.
Mr Cairns is a retired medium/fast bowler from Christchurch New Zealand. He was an all rounder which means in cricket parlance he could both bowl the ball and score runs with the bat. He was known for his highly explosive batting and his reliable pace bowling where the ball might often be coming down the pitch between 75 and 85 miles per hour could be damaging. His father Lance also used to play for New Zealand.
I have absolutely no time for corruption in sport. If you commit a minor offence and get a permanent warning by your name, and temporary censure until the sports governing body is convinced you are no longer at risk of doing this again, good. If you are found gulity as Lou Vincent was last year of systemic corruption in cricket in the form of bribe taking, getting a permanent ban from the sport in which one committed the acts of corruption is fine with me too.
Cricket is not new to this sort of carry on unfortunately. In 2010-11, Pakistan became unravelled by match fixing claims that were verified and several players received life bans. In South Africa, a former captain named Hansie Cronje, a hitherto highly regarded captain and batsman was found guilty of throwing matches by agreeing to let batsmen throw their wickets at certain points, or for bowlers to deliberately bowl bad balls. He received a life a ban from the sport.
Thus far New Zealand has been one of the cleanest nations on the planet and where people have found themselves short of the law, the consequences on the whole have been appropriate. I hope that we continue on this path, because really, we as a small nation simply cannot afford the bad rap that goes with match fixing.