Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Defiant Cairns' new fight

Latest twist: England board taking legal advice over whether they can charge Kiwi cricket star

Chris Cairns held a press conference at Auckland Airport yesterday. Photo / Dean Purcell
Chris Cairns held a press conference at Auckland Airport yesterday. Photo / Dean Purcell

Chris Cairns has returned to New Zealand full of defiance, but might have another fight on his hands with the England and Wales Cricket Board investigating whether they can lay charges against him.

The former New Zealand all-rounder held a press conference at Auckland Airport upon his return from London. He read from a prepared statement and did not take questions as he left to spend "time with my family".

He said he had been interviewed by the Metropolitan Police, the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) and the ECB.

"At my own request, I was interviewed by representatives of Metropolitan Police, the ECB

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and the ICC anti-corruption unit," Cairns said yesterday. "This is in relation to an allegation I perjured myself at the trial Cairns v Modi in 2012, and separate allegations by the ICC's anti-corruption unit that I am a match-fixer. I was not arrested or otherwise detained in London and I have not been charged with any offence, criminal or otherwise."

This is the first time the ECB has been connected to discussions concerning Cairns.

The UK Telegraph last night reported that the ECB was taking legal advice over whether it could charge Cairns with alleged match-fixing offences, giving it jurisdiction over and above the ICC.

It is understood an ECB anti-corruption official sat in on discussions with the ACSU but John Rhodes, the ICC official who took testimony from McCullum, did not.

The leaked testimony of Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum alleges that Cairns approached both to fix in England in 2008. That summer, Cairns was contracted to Nottinghamshire's T20 side.

The ECB's legal manoeuvring adds another layer of complexity to the case. The Met Police are now expected to present their evidence to the British Crown Prosecution Service, who would determine what, if any, charges will be laid.

Cairns yesterday emphasised that he rejected all the allegations against him, describing the testimony of Vincent and his ex-wife, Elly Riley, as "despicable lies" and questioning why it took McCullum three years to report the approach.

Along with Vincent and McCullum, former national captains Stephen Fleming and Daniel Vettori and fast bowler Kyle Mills were yesterday named as those who have given statements to investigators. Cairns said two were to confirm that McCullum told them he had been approached by Cairns, but one's memory was too "foggy" to back up that assertion.

"It is also significant that none of those players seem to have spoken to anyone at the ICC or any other organisation about my alleged conversation with Mr McCullum until this year, 2014," Cairns said.

"As a result of my trip to London, I now also understand that no person has made any statements to support the allegations Mr Vincent and his ex-wife have sought to level against me. There are also no allegations that I ever received any monies for my alleged activities, nor paid any monies to any person."

The Herald tried to contact all the players mentioned yesterday, but all either refused comment or could not be reached. But McCullum's lawyer, Garth Gallaway, said: "Brendon won't be making any comment on issues which Chris Cairns commented on, subject to the investigation. The appropriate place to have them [comments] aired is at any ICC hearing or a court should any of these events follow."

New Zealand Cricket said: "New Zealand Cricket is unable to comment on today's statement from Chris Cairns, regarding his interviews with British police and ICC investigators. Many of the points made are, or may be, matters of evidence, and it would be wholly inappropriate to discuss them ahead of relevant hearings and investigations."

- NZ Herald

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