You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

McCullum labels ICC as unprofessional

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/06/2016

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has used the MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture to criticise the sport's governing body for its lack of professionalism and confidentiality.

Speaking at an annual function at Lord's, McCullum said he felt let down that his report of alleged match-fixing approaches from former New Zealand teammate Chris Cairns were leaked.

Cairns was acquitted of match fixing-linked perjury charges following a two-month trial in London at last year, at which McCullum gave evidence.

The 34-year-old said the leaking of his initial testimony had a huge personal effect on him and his family because of the intense media scrutiny.

He fears his experience will put off others who may want to provide evidence to authorities.

"No witness should ever have to go through such a scenario again," he said.

"The leak has never been explained to me. To my knowledge no one has been held accountable and, in those circumstances, it is difficult to have confidence in the ICC.

"It goes without saying that, if players do not have confidence in the organisation, they will be reluctant to report approaches and the game is worse off."

McCullum admits his decision to testify against former friend Cairns was difficult but one he felt morally obliged to do.

He criticised ICC investigator John Rhodes for what was a "casual" approach to gathering evidence. He was surprised when approached for a second account two years after the first and then another more thorough interview with the Metropolitan Police.

McCullum believes the 11 life bans handed to confessed match-fixer Lou Vincent, who gave evidence against Cairns, was short-sighted and heartless.

Former Black Cap Vincent was suffering from mental health problems when he was involved in corrupt activities from 2008 to 2012.

"I have no doubt that the ECB's severe punishment of Lou has robbed the game of a golden opportunity to have him provide education to players, something I feel could have made a difference in the future. Further, it ignored his extreme vulnerability in a callous way."

McCullum's speech reflected on the rise of the New Zealand team under his watch.

He attributed it partly to the death of Australian batsman Phil Hughes, who was killed by a bouncer in 2014, saying that freed up the players mentally.

"There was an instinctiveness that took over, no fear of failure, just playing and being in the moment," he said.

"I reminded the team that there would be no harsh judgment on any player's performance and no consequences for failure."

McCullum retired from international cricket this year but is still playing in Twenty20 leagues.

He is the second New Zealander to give the address, following the late Martin Crowe in 2006.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon