The match-fixing investigation involving New Zealand players looks likely to net the biggest player since the match-fixing scandal which rocked cricket more than a decade ago.
New Zealand media reported on Wednesday that former great Chris Cairns is the player who was dubbed Player X by compatriots Lou Vincent and current national captain Brendon McCullum while giving evidence to the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption investigators.
New Zealand Herald’s report has been backed by the British media too, which has confirmed that Cairns is the player who has been named as forcing Vincent to fix games in the defunct Indian Cricket League and twice trying to unsuccessfully persuade McCullum.
Vincent, who has confessed to fixing matches in five countries including the ICL and English county, Cairns and former Kiwi paceman Daryl Tuffey are under the scanner of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, who are investigating many matches and players.
On the defensive
Cairns had vehemently denied there was any truth in Vincent’s statements after he had alleged that Player X had threatened him for not carrying out a fixing deal during an ICL game. Cairns captained Chandigarh Lions in which Vincent was one of the five overseas players. He had also rejected as a lie McCullum’s testimony that a big player had twice approached him in 2008.
However, sensational revelations to the ACSU by Vincent’s ex-wife, Elanor Riley, leaked to the media, has left Cairns on the defensive.
New Zealand Herald and Britain’s Daily Telegraph have reported that Riley, as a witness, told ACSU late last year that Cairns was the kingpin and he had brushed aside concerns that they would be caught after she confronted him in Manchester in 2008.
Riley reportedly told the ACSU that Vincent was met by a stranger with a briefcase full of cash in India, but two weeks later got a call from her shaken husband. “I got a phone call from Lou and he was crying, saying he’d just lost Chris Cairns US$250,000 (£148,000) or something like that because he got things wrong.”
Cairns tweeted after the latest revelations: “Not rejecting I am Player X. It’s the allegations I reject.” Reports also emerged that Vincent was offered trips to Dubai.
World body fuming
The series of media leaks left the ICC embarrassed. Its CEO David Richardson issued a statement clarifying that McCullum is not under any probe and that the world body would investigate how confidential information reached the media.
Cairns, who had won a defamation case against Lalit Modi for making fixing accusations on Twitter in 2010, is yet to speak to ACSU. Tuffey, who also played in the ICL, denied he has ever been involved in match- or spot-fixing, through a statement issued by his lawyers.