The Chris Cairns perjury case underway in London is being set against a pretty blatant backdrop or historical revisionism. This is not about that case, other than to note than none of the allegations involved international matches, or matches played at a time when Cairns was playing for New Zealand.
Yet it is becoming increasingly evident that there is an Orwellian type attempt to make out his international career never happened.
During the carnage in Brisbane yesterday there were two clear examples of that. The perennial Classic Catches completion featured three catches over the years of Trans-Tasman tests, and two of those involved Cairns; one as a bowler, one as a batsman. The catches were replayed at length, as they do, and every batsman, bowler and fieldsman was mentioned. Except for Cairns.
Then, as Kane Williamson piled on the runs we were shown a table of leading run scorers for New Zealand in tests. It started off when he was in 11th place, and there was reminiscing about most of the players above him on the table. Most of them anyway. He then moved to 10th as his innings progressed and we got to see the list again. Yet there was no mention of the fact that the person he’d passed was … Chris Cairns.
This is part of the Channel 9 coverage, so blame can not be attributed to either of his previous employers; New Zealand Cricket or SKY TV.
But it is happening here too. At a time when anniversaries of sporting triumphs are increasingly recognised, the 15th anniversary of New Zealand winning the Champions Trophy in Kenya recently passed by without a whimper. That remains New Zealand’s only success in an ICC competition, and Cairns put in a match-winning performance.
Whatever may or may not have happened subsequently, you cannot pretend a 16 year test career of 3320 test runs (ave 33.53) and 218 wickets (ave 29.40) never happened. It is widely accepted that to be a genuine all-rounder your batting average needs to exceed your bowling average. Cairns’s gap is bigger than any other New Zealander. The ODI record wasn’t bad either; he was a key figure in what was a pretty handy era.
This is distorting the details of cricket matches to fit in with a preconceived plan. And that is next level irony.