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Chris Cairns: If I am Player X, then the match-fixing allegations are 'a complete lie'

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 19/05/2014 Mark Geenty
Statement: Chris Cairns. © Reuters Statement: Chris Cairns.

  • Brendon McCullum approached to fix games: report
  • Alastair Cook 'worried' by fixing reports

Chris Cairns has emerged swinging, saying if he is ‘Player X’ then match-fixing claims attributed to New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum are “a complete lie”.

Cairns released an explosive statement to Fairfax Media in response to an interview given by McCullum to the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), which was leaked to the Daily Mail.

McCullum told investigators that a star international player had twice approached him in 2008 to request he fix matches, and said he could earn over $200,000 per match. McCullum said he rejected the offer.

Cairns maintained his innocence and insisted “dark forces” were at play.

“I am aware that former cricketer Lou Vincent and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum have made a range of allegations against a cricketer dubbed Player X,” Cairns’ statement said.

“It is well known that the ICC/ACSU has been investigating allegations of corruption and my name has been linked by others to these allegations. I am being asked whether I am Player X.

“Based on the limited information I have received during this investigation, I believe it is being alleged that I am that player. These allegations against me are a complete lie.”

Vincent’s interview with the ACSU was also made public last week, when the former New Zealand opener admitted he and others were involved in fixing matches across several countries.

Cairns said he had repeatedly asked the ICC/ACSU to produce copies of Vincent’s and McCullum’s statements so that he can respond.

“They decline to do so but seem happy to leak information to the media which they deny to me.

“As for Lou Vincent he appears to have confessed to match fixing in respect of games played in numerous countries around the world, most of which I have had no connection to. He is in a desperate position. He faces potential prosecution and in trying to negotiate a plea bargain he appears to be willing to falsely accuse me of wrongdoing.

“As for Brendon McCullum I have no understanding why he would say the things he is alleged to have said. To be clear, I have never approached Brendon, or anyone else, about match fixing or any other improper activity. I am doing everything I can to get to the bottom of these allegations.”

Cairns said he was yet to be interviewed by the ICC since his name was first publicly linked to this fixing allegation in December last year. The full extent of his involvement, he said, was a half day interview with the UK Metropolitan Police in New Zealand which wasn’t completed because the police had to return to the UK.

“I ask that people reserve judgment until all the facts are brought to light. I have nothing to hide. I have been to court to demonstrate conclusively that I am not a match fixer before. I will have no hesitation in doing so again.

“I conclude by saying that I believe there are dark forces at play. These forces have long arms, deep pockets and great influence. I acknowledge that recently I have upset some powerful people in the world of cricket, including raising my own concerns about the health of the game. I believe I am paying the price for that now.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said yesterday he knows the identity of ‘Player X’ but his lips remained sealed.

‘‘Yes, I do know but I simply can’t confirm [his name] as it could jeopardise further investigations,’’ White said.

White yesterday spoke to McCullum in India, who was ‘‘very disappointed’’ his confidential testimony from more than one interview was made public.

‘‘He’s not under investigation and his testimony has been applauded by the ICC,’’ White said. ‘‘He was approached and he rebuffed those approaches and he reported it to the ICC. We believe he’s done the right thing and we’ve got 100 per cent confidence in our captain and his role in tackling corruption.’’

Yesterday’s story, written by Ed Hawkins, a renowned expert on cricket corruption, contained extensive quotes from McCullum to investigators. He told them Player X, someone he described as his "hero", approached him twice in 2008, in Kolkata before the inaugural IPL then in Worcester during New Zealand’s tour of England.

Over dinner, Player X explained spread betting and said the basic principle was scoring below a certain rate for the first six overs of a match. McCullum was told he could receive between US$70,000 and $180,000 (up to NZ$208,000) a game.

‘‘I was really shocked as I saw X as a good friend and it totally confused me. X said that everybody was doing this in games,’’ McCullum was quoted as saying.

Fairfax NZ

Accused: Former New Zealand Test player Chris Cairns. © Reuters Accused: Former New Zealand Test player Chris Cairns.

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