Brendon McCullum reveals that he was approached by a fixer
Match-fixing allegations continue to haunt the game of cricket with multiple sources confirming that New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum was approached by a player to fix a game. McCullum, who captains all three formats of the game for his country, confirmed being approached in an interview conducted by the anti-corruption officers of the ICC.
In a press conference that was arranged on Thursday to respond to Daily Telegraph’s story that highlighted Lou Vincent’s involvement in spot and match-fixing, NZ cricket chief David White was asked to comment on McCullum’s alleged connection with the fixer.
“Sorry, I cannot say any more as it could jeopardise further investigations,” White said.
New Zealand Herald claims that McCullum, who is currently playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, rejected the approach and said he had no comments to make.
However, NZC chief White did establish the fact that matches involving the Auckland Aces in Champions League 2012 were under anti-corruption investigation. “No games played in New Zealand are being investigated by the ICC. No current Black Caps are being investigated. No matches involving New Zealand national teams are being investigated,” White said.
“However, we have been informed by the ICC that some Auckland Aces matches in the Champions League in South Africa in 2012 are being investigated. I would like to stress that we understand that this is very much an isolated incident. Match-fixing is a threat to cricket around the globe and we remain 100 per cent behind the ICC in their focus on fighting corruption,” he added.
White revealed that NZC was aware of Aces’ participation in corruption but was helpless because it did not have ICC’s permission to comment on the issue.
Former New Zealand batsman Vincent, all-rounder Chris Cairns and pacer Daryl Tuffey; all of whom played for the Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League, are being investigated. However, Cairns denies the allegation and said: “I’m waiting to conclude the interview I started with the Met [police] over six weeks ago here in New Zealand. Obviously the time it’s taken to conclude this is frustrating but I continue to co-operate fully with the relevant authorities.”
Cairns’ friend Andrew Fitch-Holland was brought back to Scotland Yard on Thursday after being released on bail. He was arrested in March over an accusation of perverting the court of justice in relation to the evidence given against former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, who was held responsible for defaming Cairns on Twitter.
Holland who was brought for his second interview was questioned “about a number of evidential matters which he wasn’t questioned about last time” according to Fitch-Holland’s lawyer Tony Wyatt, QC.
“The material was all very much the same but it wasn’t disclosed to him on the last occasion. This time it has. He answered questions about everything that had been disclosed,” Wyatt added.
“He will be re-interviewed; alternatively, they may decide they have enough [evidence] and charge him at that time,” Mr Wyatt said, indicating that Fitch may be called back for another round of interview in August or September.
“The other option is they may decide they’re not going to charge him. He’s not been charged but the investigation is ongoing. It seems most of the information is coming from one source, so the decision they will make when they come to decide to charge him is whether that one source is credible. That one source is almost certainly Vincent. He has said he is fully co-operating with police and ICC anti-corruption investigators, and the Telegraph yesterday described his evidence as a “treasure trove of information,” he added.
When Vincent, who was contacted via email, was asked to comment on this issue, he said: “I still can’t say anything or make comment.”
ICC too, on the other hand, refused to comment on the corruption investigations.