New Zealand Cricket have promised to support Brendon McCullum after former Test all-rounder Chris Cairns was acquitted of perjury in London despite evidence given against him by the Black Caps captain.
Cairns had been accused of falsely claiming he had never cheated at cricket when he won £90,000 ($135,531) in damages from Lalit Modi, the former boss of the Indian Premier League, in a libel action three years ago.
Modi acknowledged Cairns’s acquittal on Twitter, the same platform he used to allege the New Zealander had been involved in match-fixing in 2010, prompting the libel trial.
“I am aware of the verdict at Southwark Crown Court,” he tweeted from London.
“As you know I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial. I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course.”
McCullum was one of two former team-mates, along with self-confessed match-fixer Lou Vincent, who gave key evidence against Cairns in the trial, accusing his predecessor as Test skipper of twice asking him to fix matches.
After the accusations, 44-year-old former all-rounder Cairns had fallen on such bad times that he has taken to driving trucks and cleaning bus shelters for a $17-an-hour salary.
Wife Mel Crosser was reported as saying that he took up the job to provide for his family and meet his day-to-day expenses. Cairns’s job with the Auckland council entails driving a truck that blasts water in bus shelters.
On Monday, however, Cairns was found not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice, ending what the 45-year-old described as “five years of hell”.
“Brendon is an employee of ours, so we’ve got a duty of care around him that makes sure he’s in a safe working environment and free of harassment and all that humiliation stuff,” NZC chairman Stuart Heal told the New Zealand Herald.
“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but of course we will support Brendon. As I say, he’s our current captain and an employee of New Zealand Cricket. We need him on the park leading our side and doing what he does best.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) acknowledged the verdict in the perjury trial in a brief statement.
“The ICC notes the decision of the jury finding Mr Chris Cairns not guilty and confirms its utmost respect for the process that has been followed,” it read.
Cairns acknowledged both meetings with McCullum, one in England and one in India, had taken place but said there was nothing sinister about them.
“I think overall, Brendon’s interpretation of what happened in 2008 has just changed. Why that is, I can’t answer for Brendon,” Cairns told Fox Sports TV in an interview in London on Monday.
“I suppose questions will be asked of Brendon as to why he did that.”
McCullum has come under fire for taking three years to report the alleged approaches by Cairns.