Chris Cairns is the Lance Armstrong of cricket, a court has heard.

In summing up the Crown case to the jury, Sasha Wass QC compared the cricketer to the disgraced cyclist as two men whose cheating and corruption brought shame on the sport which made them famous.

She asked the 12 jurors to ask themselves why nine witnesses would lie to implicate Cairns in match-fixing, in a conspiracy theory she described as "ludicrous".

Chris Cairns had not provided a "single, credible reason" to question the motives of those witnesses but Ms Wass said his defence barrister Orlando Pownall QC, a "persuasive advocate", would explain the conspiracy in the same way a "skillful novelist can make a world of fiction seem believable".


Three witnesses who provided direct evidence against Cairns - Lou Vincent, Brendon McCullum and Ellie Riley - who were backed up by the indirect evidence of six others as "building blocks in a wall", said Ms Wass.

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The lawyers for Cairns had suggested the three principal witnesses had concocted their evidence "late in the day", but they had told others about their allegations of match-fixing years earlier.

In Vincent's case, he had "poured out his heart" and confessed to two friends, Phil Hayes and Steve Pearson about how Cairns had lured him into the murky world of matchfixing.

Vincent also tearfully called his wife Ellie Riley about how he "stuffed up" a fix for Cairns during an Indian Cricket League match in April 2008, when he mistakenly scored a six and a four.

These confessions do not make sense, said Ms Wass, if Vincent had to come up with a "scalp" when he realized he was going to be caught in 2013.

"It's unlikely he would have cooked up this plan to stitch up Chris Cairns in 2008 and spent five years working out how to bring his downfall," said Ms Wass.

In McCullum's case, Ms Wass said the New Zealand cricket captain told his agent Leanne McGoldrick as well as fellow cricketers Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills as far back as 2008.
Ricky Ponting also confirmed McCullum received a phone call from Chris Cairns about a "business proposal" shortly before the first alleged approach.

Have the Crown proved beyond reasonable doubt Cairns did what they accused him of doing? In a word, no. Making claims without concrete proof simply doesn't get you across the line in a court of law.

Ms Wass said McCullum had nothing to gain from giving evidence against one of his heroes.

"The defence say Mr McCullum is lying. But not a single reason has been put forward why a man, at the height of his career, to come to the Southwark Crown Court to falsely incriminate a man he held in such high regard."

In regards to Ellie Riley's direct evidence, Ms Wass said the former wife of Lou Vincent was "clear and certain" that Cairns told her "everyone's doing it" and was confident they would not be caught match-fixing.

"Why Ellie Riley would lie? She has no great love for her ex husband."

That same confidence was again shown in the evidence of Andre Adams, another New Zealand cricketer playing in the ICL, said Ms Wass.

The Crown prosecutor said Adams told the jury about a conversation where Cairns was "openly boasting" that nobody would be able to prove match-fixing in the unsanctioned ICL.

She also pointed to the evidence of former New Zealand cricket players Shane Bond and Chris Harris, both playing in the ICL, who talked about "strange goings on" in two games involving Chris Cairns.

Both referred to a game between the Chandigarh Lions and the Mumbai Champs in October 2008 where they thought each side was trying to lose.

When the Lions won, following a whirlwind 41 run score by the wicketkeeper, Ms Wass said Harris and Bond saw Cairns on the television screen and thought he looked unhappy at the result.

Chris Cairns was unable to present a "single, credible reason" for why these witnesses would want to falsely incriminate an innocent man, said Ms Wass.

His defence team has suggested the International Cricket Council needed a "scalp", said Ms Wass.

"Why would anyone, let alone the governing body of cricket, want the scalp of an innocent man," she asked.

The trial had brought the sport of cricket into disrepute, Ms Wass said, similar to how Lance Armstrong had brought shame to professional cycling when he was discovered to be a cheat.

"The last thing [the ICC] would want to do is bring accusations against an innocent man who has captained his country, represented New Zealand for 17 years.

"On the other hand, the ICC would want to bring a cheat who corrupted others to justice."
Mr Pownall will respond with his closing speech on Monday, which is expected to last at least one day.