Chris Cairns dodged one bullet yesterday but still has a few more to avoid.
The former New Zealand all-rounder awoke to reports in London's Telegraph newspaper that the England and Wales Cricket Board will not charge him with any fixing offences, after being accused by his former team-mate Lou Vincent of inciting him to fix matches while playing for Lancashire in 2008.
Cairns was contracted to Nottinghamshire at the time, but senior sources indicated to the Telegraph that he will not face any charges in the UK.
That seemingly goes against the widespread understanding that the ECB and International Cricket Council anti-corruption units were awaiting the outcome of the UK Metropolitan Police investigation before deciding whether to lay charges.
Cairns flew to London last month to complete his interview with Met Police, and it is understood British detectives were in Australia this week where Daryl Tuffey lives, another player named as under investigation by the ICC anti-corruption unit.
Cairns and Tuffey have vehemently denied any involvement in fixing, and neither could be contacted for comment yesterday.
Cairns has been on the front foot amid leaked evidence to anti-corruption officers from Vincent, his ex-wife Elly Riley and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, labelling it "lies" and suggesting "dark forces" are at play. But yesterday he didn't return calls or texts.
New Zealand Cricket said it was aware of the Telegraph report, but chief executive David White said his organisation had yet to be advised by the ECB on the matter and was not prepared to respond to unsubstantiated claims in the media.
"Quite apart from the ECB inquiry, there is also a British police investigation and a separate anti-corruption probe conducted by the ICC to take into account," he said.
"As such, NZC is unable to comment on issues which are, or may become, matters of evidence."
Vincent is facing 14 charges and talks are ongoing between the ECB and his lawyers over the next step. Vincent confessed last year in a series of interviews with anti-corruption officers to fixing offences in five countries including while playing for Sussex and Lancashire and it was his evidence that led to the charging of Naved Arif, the former Sussex all-rounder.
The ECB reiterated its "zero tolerance" approach to fixing by banning Arif for life for throwing a county match.
Vincent was banned for three years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board for failing to report a corrupt approach in the Bangladesh Premier League.
- The Dominion Post
Does more need to be done to protect NZ passports?