Dylan Cleaver on sport

Sport analysis and comment from Dylan Cleaver

Dylan Cleaver: Too easy to cheat in cricket


I love cricket.

Over the past two days I've spent a couple of nice hours reclined on the grass bank of Dunedin's University Oval under unusually cloudless skies, watching Ross Taylor compile a near flawless double century.

I've watched the West Indians toil hopelessly at the bowling crease, but remained full of admiration for Tino Best who, because of an injury to Darren Sammy and the struggles of Shannon Gabriel, became a virtual one-man pace attack.

At the same time I was making and taking calls, seeking confirmation for the story that most New Zealand cricket fans would have read, and hated, today. Not for the first time in my life I wondered: "How could you cheat this magnificent sport?"

All too easily as it turns out.

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Up to three former New Zealand players are under the ICC's match-fixing microscope.

We shouldn't be surprised but there's still a lot of us who think this sort of scumbaggery is meant to be something they do somewhere else.

This is a sporting nation raised on the All Black ethos of one-in, all-in. The thought that there have been New Zealand cricketers out there who have sold teammates down the river - no matter what side they were playing for - hurts like a punch in the guts.

It's too easy to blame the proliferation of meaningless but highly lucrative T20 competitions. It's easy to blame the insidious presence of mostly subcontinental bookmakers and sports betting in general. If you were desperate you could even blame the nature of the sport itself, where players are so conditioned to failure some think they might as well cash in on it while they can.

But the simple fact is we are all given choices in life. Over the past two days Taylor has chosen to pursue excellence. Best chose to run in and give it his all in unforgiving conditions.

At some point in the recent past, a few New Zealanders have almost certainly made the wrong choice and taken the wrong money.

They can help repair the damage by coming clean and shifting any suspicion away from all those whom have done nothing wrong.

- NZ Herald

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