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Cricket: Vincent keen to help by telling his story

Former Black Cap convicted of match fixing wants to give something back to society.
Lou Vincent accepts he has no future in cricket. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Lou Vincent accepts he has no future in cricket. Photo / Brett Phibbs

After almost a year of self-imposed exile, former Black Caps batsman Lou Vincent has spoken about recovering his mental health and wellbeing in his now cricket-less world.

Vincent is serving 11 concurrent life bans issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board in July 2014 after his confession to match-fixing.

He gave testimony in the perjury trial of former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns last year. Cairns was found not guilty.

Vincent, in an interview with Tony Veitch that airs on NewstalkZB today, speaks of his suicide attempt, coping as a match-fixer and his plans to join the public speaking circuit.

"I just want to help people with my story, and give something back to society," Vincent said, after admitting that before his confession he contemplated suicide. He has since fought back from the brink.

"I'm not going to change the world in a big way, but at one stage I couldn't look one person in the eye. Now I can do it to 100 people [after completing a public-speaking course]. I'm not another self-help book written by a professor. This message comes from someone who experienced these things in his own life."

Vincent had reconciled with having no further involvement in cricket. "I've got to do my time for the mistakes I've made. Going to a game and being involved, certainly in the next few years, is not right.

"Cricket is a small part of the world and I'm in no rush [to get back to it]. I've got a simple life and two adorable daughters who are my focus. Getting out there and speaking about [what I've been through] inspires me more than any cricket game.

"We evolve as human beings and learn more about our experiences to move forward in life. People who hang on to the regret of their mistakes never move on."

Speaking for the first time after the court case, Vincent held no rancour for the judge, the jury's decision or Cairns, the man he accused of match-fixing.

"Anyone would make the judgement that I was unreliable and inconsistent [as a witness]. When you're on the stand, those things are emphasised and it can go either way.

"I felt proud enough to have the courage to put my soul on the stand in front of the legal fraternity and the public. I didn't have to come forward, but I cared about life again.

"I loved cricket - it was in my heart since the age of four - but I gave it away and lost respect for it. I had a chip on my shoulder, but to make the most of life again it was something I had to put to bed.

"You have to cut ties with the past to find peace and forgiveness. If you hang on to bitterness and regret, you're going to be sick. Chris is a father, he's got four kids, the way [the situation] evolved was sad for a lot of people. I've got my own opinion and judgement, which I've learned to keep to myself."

Former New Zealand team-mate and fellow trial witness Brendon McCullum called for Vincent to be shown clemency during his delivery of the annual Cowdrey lecture at Lord's in June. McCullum described Vincent's insight into the "dark and sinister world of match-fixing" as "invaluable" after he accepted responsibility for his match-fixing.

The former New Zealand captain struggled with the severity of Vincent's 11-life ban punishment.

He said while "loathing the fixing activities", Vincent was a "vulnerable character" and "laid his soul bare at considerable personal cost".

"In the criminal law in New Zealand, a defendant is given some clemency for co-operation and entering a guilty plea. It seems to me that Lou did not receive any such acknowledgement but, rather, had the book thrown at him.

"I have no doubt that the ECB's severe punishment of Lou has robbed the game of a golden opportunity to have him provide education to players, something I feel could have made a difference in the future."

At this stage, that will never be the case.

- NZ Herald

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