Thank God that’s fixed

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I’m really looking forward to next year’s Cricket World Cup, to be held in New Zealand and Australia.

I’ve got my tickets, and I also fancy having a bit of a flutter on the games. But I’m always on the lookout for a bit of inside knowledge on the form of the teams. Does anyone know how to tell when the fix is on?

I’m a big cricket fan, and I’ve spent many years following the Black Caps. We’ve had some great players over the years, like Chris Cairns and Lou Vincent. Guys who were prepared to give 100% for the cause. Well, maybe not the cause, but certainly a cause.

I really feel for some of the guys trying to make a living in the international game. There’s immense competition for places, and these players only typically have only a few seasons at the very top. They have to maximise their earning potential while they can.

So if some of them can make a bit on the side by fixing matches, defrauding the public, dishonouring the game and its traditions, pissing on all that is good and great about the wonderful game, and treating the public with contempt, then why not? It’s just commerce.

Thanks to the match-fixers, it’s now impossible to trust any cricket result. Did our team really win? Or did the opposition throw the game? But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The next World Cup promises to be exciting precisely because we can never be sure who is going to win. A team may go into a game as hot favourite, only to throw the match for an enormous amount of money. It all adds to the thrill of the tournament.

Some traditionalists have taken to bemoaning the state of the modern game, and despairing at the corruption rife within the sport of cricket. Some are saying that if Lou Vincent and others accused of fixing games are found guilty, then they should be thrown in jail. But why are we being so harsh on our former Black Caps? We should instead be applauding their entrepreneurial spirit. These guys were never much chop at winning games during their playing careers, so we should be applauding their success at finally getting the results they want.

And doesn’t some small part of you feel proud that we Kiwis are world leaders at something in cricket? We haven’t had a devastating bowler since Shane Bond, and world class batsman are thin on the ground in New Zealand. But they can’t take this achievement away from us.

In years to come, when people debate which nation can boast the biggest pack of sporting cheats, we’ll be in the running for first place. It’s a contest we may even be able to fix, if there’s enough money in it.