... but will oth­ers now be afraid to speak up?

Daily Mail - - Cricket - LAWRENCE BOOTH Wis­den Edi­tor

CHRIS CAIRNS’S delight at his ac­quit­tal will not nec­es­sar­ily be shared by ev­ery­one in cricket. That is not to doubt the ver­dict of the jury. It is sim­ply to re­flect the fact that the ICC’s anti-cor­rup­tion unit — not to men­tion the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice — be­lieved they had a strong case against him. That case now lies in ru­ins. The worry for a sport whose in­tegrity re­mains up for grabs, even af­ter Cairns’s not-guilty ver­dict, is whether whistle­blow­ers such as Bren­don McCul­lum will feel em­bold­ened in fu­ture to tes­tify against team-mates. There should be no ques­tion­ing McCul­lum’s in­tegrity, de­spite the fact his ev­i­dence at Southwark Crown Court was not enough to per­suade the jury to find Cairns guilty. But the fact re­mains that it was not enough. Through no fault of his own, McCul­lum will have to live with that. How many crick­eters will look at the events of the past eight weeks and de­cide that a grilling at the hands of a sk­il­ful QC is sim­ply not worth the trou­ble? There are other con­cerns. The jury can­not have been im­pressed by the fact that McCul­lum was in­ter­viewed three times — twice by the ACU, once by po­lice — adding de­tails on each oc­ca­sion to a state­ment which de­fence lawyers could then ar­gue was in­con­sis­tent. Nei­ther did it say much for the ICC that McCul­lum’s first state­ment, made in Fe­bru­ary 2011, was not made avail­able for the li­bel trial brought by Cairns against Lalit Modi a year later. The ICC say they were not asked to present any ev­i­dence. That is not good enough. Once again, we have been left with the sense of a sport that still has much to do if it is to con­vince the court of pub­lic opin­ion.

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