Chris Cairns, that flamboyant allrounder from New Zealand, is doing some labour work these days. He drives a council truck and cleans bus shelters around Auckland for $17 an hour. He and his wife, a project manager, live in a posh suburb in Auckland. News trickles in, often conflicting, but always troubling and spins you into a daze.
How does one view the case of Cairns? Betrayal or with a sense of forgiveness? Or anger? Or even a blind belief that he wouldn’t have done anything wrong? In October, this year, he faces a perjury trial that having been a witness in the libel trial he willfully made a statement he knew to be false when he said he had never cheated or contemplated cheating at cricket.
Some New Zealand fans are angry and feel a sense of betrayal. There were reports in the newspaper New Zealand Herald that when some people saw Cairns working behind a bar near the Brittomart station, they taunted and mocked him and that Cairns quietly, and quickly, left the scene.
Most of his team-mates have been quiet and New Zealand cricket too has decided to wait for the case to play itself out before doing anything. However, Dion Nash, his former team-mate, has backed his team-mate publicly. Nash says he had a frank chat with him many months ago. “I looked him in the eye and asked him what’s going on. We have had those discussions and I honestly hope he is speaking the truth. He never betrayed me. He was a great team-mate. He helped the teams I was in achieve fantastic things. I know he didn’t do anything in the time we played together and a number of guys we played with know that,” he said.
What if he did commit what he has been alleged of? What would be your take if that is the case? At this point I believe he is innocent and even if he has, I think we have to support the community,” says Nash. “The temptation with the money that has come in to the game is real and it won’t be last time some cricketer gets accused of something. We need to learn that how to deal with these temptations but you can’t isolate people and punish them.”
Nash delves into his own mistakes to get some empathy up and running for Cairns. “I am not a saint. I have been caught smoking pot in South Africa and been through the wringer couple of times. I know that one mistake over a period of life doesn’t define you. Somehow you got to pick your way through it.”
Nash has a serious look on his face.
“I have seen some worse behaviour on tour. What’s worse? There is no hard and fast rule. All I know is this is a tricky situation and I hope it’s gets cleaned up and New Zealand cricket is able to heal quickly after that.” Lou Vincent has come out against Cairns and I ask Nash about how he views that part of the drama. It’s an answer from a loyal team-mate. “I am a bit twisted on that one. He is pinning a mate at the same time and it’s hard to understand what’s happening there. I haven’t been in touch with Lou, I feel for his situation but I don’t understand some of the things he is doing.”
Vincent might be pinning a team-mate but isn’t he also in the process helping clean up cricket?
“Yeah. Anything that helps cleaning corruption is great but look this is still an open case on a guy for whom I have lots of time for. Until it all comes out and I fully understand the picture I have quite a few questions. I guess everyone does. The loyalty towards Cairns makes me hope that he gets cleared but I also want the game to be clean. And if he has done something wrong and it’s a big if we shall deal with that when it’s proven. Until that day, I can’t stand by and let him be isolated and crucified,” the former all-rounder signed off.