They were the hottest tickets in town for a New Zealand sports fan. A rectangular, yellow piece of paper stamped "HM Courts & Tribunals Service" which guaranteed the holder a seat in the Southwark Crown Court beside the Thames.

Forget the replay of the Nightmare in Cardiff, expat Kiwis were queuing up to see Baz v Cairnsey and being turned away at the door.

Brendon McCullum and Chris Cairns; big-hitting heroes who gave New Zealand cricket fans hope whenever they walked out to the crease.

McCullum, in a grey-checked suit and tie combination, was ushered into Courtroom 1 and looked ahead as he walked to the witness stand in front of Mr Justice Sweeney.


Cairns watched his former friend as he walked in, then listened carefully to his allegations with folded arms, sometimes conferring with Andrew Fitch-Holland, his co-accused.

"Are you the captain of the New Zealand cricket team?" asked Sasha Wass, the QC representing the Crown.

McCullum: "Yes."

And how long had he known the defendant?

"Growing up watching New Zealand cricket, Chris Cairns was very much a superstar of that team and certainly one of my idols."

Chris Cairns pictured outside Southwark Crown Court. Photo / Chris Gorman
Chris Cairns pictured outside Southwark Crown Court. Photo / Chris Gorman

McCullum went on to explain that Cairns, around 10 years older, took him under his wing in the New Zealand Academy side.

As he became more established in the senior national team alongside Cairns, they became friends and their young families grew up together in Christchurch.

"A friend who I looked up to" was how McCullum described their relationship. So there was nothing out of the ordinary when Cairns called him a few days before the beginning of the Indian Premier League tournament in 2008.


McCullum was in a hotel bar with Ricky Ponting when his mentor called with a "business proposal", the court heard.

They met alone in Cairns' hotel suite and shared a bottle of red wine. There was small talk about the IPL tournament, then McCullum said Cairns asked if he knew anything about spot fixing.

"I said no. He said he would explain it to me."

Brendon McCullum was accused of tailoring his statements to cricket corruption investigators in order to avoid a potential ban for a failing to report the alleged spot fixing approaches from Chris Cairns for more than two years. The New Zealand captain was giving evidence against his former "idol" and told the jury in the Southwark Crown Court that Cairns approached him twice in 2008 to become involved in spot fixing.

McCullum: "I was shocked. I sort of thought he may have been joking. But it quickly became aware he wasn't joking ... when he kept talking in quite a relaxed nature about it.

"He said all the big boys were doing it, that I was the sort of player and personality who would take it on. He said he couldn't ask Dan Vettori and Jake Oram, [they] didn't have the balls to do it."

McCullum also said Cairns told him that two other former New Zealand players, Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey, were "working for him".

He said Cairns offered between US$70,000 ($102,600) and US$180,000 to underperform.

Asked why he didn't report Cairns to the cricket authorities, McCullum said he "didn't want it to be true. I didn't want to rat on him".

Nor did he refuse straight away, but said he would think about it.

"Remember, this conversation never happened," was how Cairns allegedly ended the conversation.

McCullum said he declined the offer the following day.

Just a few months later, when McCullum was touring England with the New Zealand team, Cairns called him again. Despite the earlier spot-fixing approach, according to his evidence, McCullum said he was comfortable meeting with Cairns.

"It sounds strange but I was okay with it. I just sort of hoped that the conversations we'd had ... just didn't exist. He asked me again if I had changed my mind and I said no."

Asked why he did not report it, McCullum said Cairns was "a hero" and he did not feel threatened.

"I felt I could deal with it without making it an issue. I guess I wasn't as understanding of the rules then as I am now. I definitely regret taking so long to report it."

It was nearly three years before McCullum did come forward, after a presentation by John Rhodes, an anti-corruption investigator at the International Cricket Council, in February 2011.

Rhodes told the New Zealand players that they would be as liable as the alleged match-fixer if they failed to report approaches.

McCullum said he exchanged looks with Daniel Vettori - in whom he had confided - and then decided to tell Rhodes, whom he trusted.

And that was it, his evidence for the Crown done and dusted.

Orlando Pownall, the QC representing Cairns, said there was a different motive for the delay.

During his cross-examination of McCullum, Mr Pownall said the cricketer was a popular worldwide figure who would do anything to "protect Brand McCullum" and his extensive business interests.

He suggested McCullum waited nearly three years to report the alleged approach because "you were unsure of what had happened" and reluctant for "Brand McCullum" to be involved.

"I'm very certain about what happened on those two occasions Chris Cairns asked me to spot fix," McCullum replied.

"I was scared to come forward to say a guy I looked up to, idolised in my time in the New Zealand cricket team, had asked me to fix a match."

Players failing to report a fixing approach can be banned up to five years.

Mr Pownall suggested that McCullum sought assurances from the ICC that he would not be punished for being slow to report the alleged approach from Cairns.

McCullum could not recall asking for those assurances and regretted not coming forward earlier.

He agreed that he had not stood before a disciplinary tribunal yet.

The QC also questioned why McCullum would agree to meet Cairns in the UK, if Cairns had indeed approached him in India to fix games.

"There should have been a deep loathing. But there wasn't because you weren't sure, were you?

McCullum said: "No [he was sure]".

"But you're committed [to your story] now, aren't you?" said Mr Pownall.

"There's no reason for me to be here other than to tell the truth. There's no benefit [to me]," replied McCullum.

Even following the two alleged approaches, Mr Pownall said there were a number of social occasions where McCullum and Cairns spent time together.

These included a game of golf with Mark Greatbatch, another former NZ cricketer.

"Did you feel uncomfortable playing golf with a cheat, someone who could have ruined your career?" asked Mr Pownall.

McCullum said it was "difficult to explain".

In closing McCullum's evidence, Sasha Wass asked whether he found it easy to accuse his former friend.


With that, the biggest test of his career was over. McCullum walked out as he came in - looking straight ahead - with Cairns' gaze following him.