Scott Kuggeleijn has been selected in the New Zealand squad to play South Africa in the washed-out third test in Hamilton. And so the narrative began.
— nzherald (@nzherald) March 23, 2017
The trials were not pleasant affairs, and there remains a consent culture issue on New Zealand. However, the judicial system in this country found him not guilty, and that has to be legally respected. The Crown are not appealing the decision.
The standard innocent until proven guilty line is a pivotal part of New Zealand’s, and many other countries’, justice system.
One of the strange things about the outrage following Kuggeleijn’s selection is that it was announced by New Zealand Cricket six weeks earlier. Following his acquittal he would be available for selection.
Three broken fast bowlers later, and a non-functioning all-rounders collective meant his inclusion was inevitable.
There are a few realities in this.
First of all, it would be a really dangerous precedent if a sporting body was to consider itself above a court decision, regardless of its verdict.
Secondly, there needs to be consistency. There have been few calls for him to be sacked from playing for Northern Districts, so why is it different when it comes to playing for New Zealand? Remember that those playing First Class cricket are paid by the central body.
There is a line of thought that it’s OK for him to continue playing cricket, but not for New Zealand. Partly because those games are on TV.
Formulating rules and protocols around such a demarcation would be hugely complicated, and a little bit open to pitchfork justice. Also, if there was a stand-down period, how long should that be for, and how is that calculated?
There is also a slightly complicated argument that he should have had his ND contract torn up, probably before the trial. There really seems to be a collective outrage aimed at his employer, rather than the judicial system when dealing with such a crime.
That didn’t happen. This subsequent NZ selection was a logical progression.
Nebulous mini-punishments aren’t actually that practical.