Vincent deeds 'inevitable stain' for Black Cap

Last updated 05:08 18/05/2014

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The reputation of New Zealand cricket and the Black Cap have been "stained" by the involvement of a Kiwi in one of the international game's biggest scandals, former New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan says.

Vaughan, who played for New Zealand between 1992 and 1997, said the country's cricket reputation had been irreparably damaged over revelations that Lou Vincent, a former Black Cap, is at the centre of a widespread match-fixing scandal, including games with the Auckland Aces.

"Whenever one of your own gets involved in these activities, even if it wasn't when he was representing New Zealand, it undoubtedly stains the reputation. It's unfortunate but it's inevitable," Vaughan said.

It has been a tumultuous few days for Vincent, who is understood to be in hiding away from his West Auckland home, after excerpts from a report into evidence he gave to the International Cricket Council (ICC) were leaked by British newspapers.

Vincent cuts a lonely figure with many former and current players appearing to shun him or refuse to become embroiled in the controversy.

One team-mate who didn't shy away was former Black Caps fast bowler Iain O'Brien. In a column for Britain's Daily Telegraph yesterday, O'Brien said he had long held suspicions over Vincent and "I didn't really want to be seen with him, associated with him or considered a mate of his".

O'Brien claimed other Black Caps had called Vincent "a fixer, a cheat and many more unprintable things" as they observed his time in the Indian Cricket League that didn't have the backing of the ICC or country cricket boards.

The explosive evidence from Vincent, reported in England's Daily Mail on Friday, said he had identified 12 games around the world which involved fixing, including Aces games during the Champions Trophy in South Africa in 2012. A number of players from across the globe are now being investigated by anti-corruption detectives as a result of Vincent's evidence.

Vincent is alleged to have begun fixing in 2008 in the ICL where he played for Chandigarh. Vaughan was chief executive at the time when a number of New Zealand cricket players, including Vincent, defected to go and play in the rebel competition.

Vaughan said there were "very strong rumours" that the ICL was a hot bed of match-fixing but there was little the national organisation could do.

"There was a general bad smell coming from that competition," he said. "None of the players were contracted to New Zealand Cricket or actively playing for any of our domestic teams. It was a rebel league. It was unsanctioned. We felt that competition was totally in another orbit. It was ring fenced so it almost wasn't our problem.

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"I guess we always hoped that New Zealand players weren't going to get caught up in wrongdoings that were going on in that competition but it was out of our mindset because we were dealing with the Black Caps and all the competitions they were playing in and all the ICC sanctioned competitions and they were quite separate."

Vaughan, who knows Vincent well, said he was surprised at Vincent's level of involvement.

"I am very disappointed. It was no surprise perhaps that there was involvement in the ICL but it's surprising to see that it was able to then spread into the likes of domestic cricket in England."

O'Brien, who, like Vincent, has well-documented issues with depression, wrote in his column. "I knew he had been up to no good."

O'Brien remembered watching some "unbelievable" ICL games in 2008. "Unbelievable in a way that we could not believe how obvious what was going on: leaving and or padding up to straight ones, run-outs by massive distances in curious circumstances, batsmen playing out maidens, no-balls and wides just too big and too often to be natural mistakes. It looked a shambles.

"And this included Lou Vincent. Without a shadow of doubt Lou was fixing."

- Sunday Star Times

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