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Chris Cairns: 'No truth' in cricket match-fixing allegations

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns repeatedly denied that he was ever involved in match-fixing as he defended himself against accusations of perjury.

Cairns, who played 277 times for his country over 17 years, told a jury that there was "no truth" to allegations he had tried to persuade his team-mate Lou Vincent to join him in cheating.

The 45-year-old said he reacted with "horror" and "anger" when Lalit Modi, the chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), accused him on Twitter in January 2010 of match-fixing while playing for the Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League in 2008.

And he said he was "shocked" and found it "bewildering" that fellow New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum could accuse him of trying to recruit him to fix results.

Asked by his barrister, Orlando Pownall QC at Southwark Crown Court, whether he had ever been involved in match fixing, Cairns replied, "no", adding that he had never contemplated it.

Dressed in a blue jacket, blue jeans and a light blue shirt, he repeatedly rejected allegations he had tried to coerce former team-mates into cheating.

Quizzed over allegations he had discussed the topic of "spot-fixing" with Mr McCullum in April 2008 in Calcutta, India, where the younger man played for the Kolkata Knight Riders, Cairns said he explained spread-betting to him because match-fixing was "topical" in India at the time.

Cairns said there was "minimal" time spent discussing match-fixing, and said it was "completely wrong" to suggest spread-betting was the equivalent to match fixing.

Mr Pownall asked him: "Did you ever say that you were involved in match-fixing?"

He replied, "No", and also denied trying to recruit Mr McCullum, who he said "would have reported it" if he had.

Cairns, regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the world for much of his career, also denied accusations that he made a second approach to Mr McCullum at a cafe in Worcester where New Zealand were playing a county side.

He told the court the pair chatted about how badly the national side were playing.

Asked by Mr Pownall how he would expect Mr McCullum to react to him supposedly trying to recruit him a second time, Cairns replied: "Along the lines of, 'Are you having a laugh?' Brendon is a forthright character and doesn't generally take a backward step.

"He would have made it very, very clear that he wouldn't be involved in anything like that at all."

Cairns was adamant he had never ordered his fellow Lions player Lou Vincent to fix games by deliberately playing badly.

Mr Vincent never told him about an Indian man offering him cash and a prostitute to entice him into fixing games, Cairns said, nor did he inform him was "working for me now" as a match-fixer.

Cairns denied encouraging Mr Vincent to under-perform, and dismissed suggestions he threatened him with a cricket bat after he botched an attempt to throw a match for the Lions when he accidentally hit two boundaries.

Cairns said the shots were "very good", and that he was instead "livid" with him for getting out and not seeing the game through.

The court heard that Cairns had signed a three-year contract in 2008 to play for and captain the Lions in the ICL, worth 350,000 US dollars a year.

He was "very excited" about earning so much money at the end of his career, particularly after a "significant drop" in his New Zealand cricket salary in the years before.

But he was dismissed from the ICL later in 2008 amid allegations he had been fixing games.

Before Cairns gave evidence, South African cricketer Andrew Hall, another of his Lions team-mates, described a conversation he had with the New Zealander shortly before he left the ICL.

Mr Hall said: "He said that he was leaving because the (ICL) board had asked him to leave because of allegations of match-fixing."

But Cairns denied telling Mr Hall the reason, saying "rumours and innuendo" had been spread.

Cairns brought a libel action against IPL chairman Mr Modi over his Twitter accusations, winning £90,000 in damages.

He told the court today that he sued him "to get an apology and for him to right the wrong".

But he is now accused of lying during that hearing, and of perverting the course of justice.

His friend, barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, 50, from Burton Road, Manchester, is also accused of perverting the course of justice. Both men deny the charges and the case continues tomorrow.


From Belfast Telegraph