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Cairns wins £90,000 over fix claims

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns has won £90,000 libel damages over an accusation of match-fixing which he said turned his achievements to "dust".

The 41-year-old, who notched up the rare double of 200 wickets and 3,000 runs in his 62 Tests, had sued Lalit Modi, ex-chairman of Twenty20 franchise the Indian Premier League (IPL), over an "unequivocal allegation" on Twitter in January 2010.

He was not at London's High Court for the ruling by Mr Justice Bean, who heard the case without a jury.

The judge said that Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot- fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.

He said: "It is obvious that an allegation that a professional cricketer is a match-fixer goes to the core attributes of his personality and, if true, entirely destroys his reputation for integrity.

"The allegation is not as serious as one of involvement in terrorism or sexual offences (to take two examples from recent cases). But it is otherwise as serious an allegation as anyone could make against a professional sportsman."

The judge heard that Modi's tweet was picked up by cricket website Cricinfo. When Cairns complained, Cricinfo withdrew its report, paid damages and apologised - but Modi declined to apologise and pleaded justification, maintaining that the charge was true.

Cairns's case was that it was "wholly untrue" and a very grave libel which could destroy all he had achieved over a distinguished 20-year career.

In evidence, he said: "The defendant's allegations have also had a profound effect on my personal and private life. It put a strain on my marriage. It hurts that my wife may think that I am not the man she thought I was.

"It hurts me too that friends, many of whom are former cricketing foes, will question my integrity as a man and a sportsman and that all I achieved in the great game of cricket is dust."

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