McCullum's 'hero' tried to bribe him - report

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 16:19 19/05/2014
Brendon McCullum
Reuters

SKIPPER: Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum says his hero approached him to fix matches - British newspaper reports.

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New Zealand Cricket is adamant national captain Brendon McCullum won't face sanctions for ''a small delay'' in reporting a world-renowned former cricketer who allegedly offered him up to US$180,000 to fix matches in 2008.

NZC chief executive David White said he was disappointed McCullum's testimony to International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption officials was leaked to the Daily Mail today.

According to the Mail's story, written by Ed Hawkins, an authority on cricket match fixing, McCullum told investigators he rebuffed two approaches from his ''hero'', both in 2008 while playing in the Indian Premier League, then in Worcester during New Zealand's tour of England.

McCullum didn't immediately report the approaches, as players are required to do, but White backed his skipper to the hilt and said he had "absolute 100 per cent confidence" McCullum wouldn't face sanctions. McCullum told investigators he had never fixed matches.

"I've spoken to Brendon and he's very disappointed he's in the public domain," White said today.

"He's not under investigation and his testimony has been applauded by the ICC. He was approached and he rebuffed those approaches and he reported it to the ICC.

"We believe he's done the right thing and we've got 100 per cent confidence in our captain and his role in tackling corruption.

"We understand there might have been a small delay in reporting the approaches but we know this has been canvassed by the ICC and they have no issues with it, at all."

White was aghast that the testimony had been leaked and said he would take the matter up with ICC chief executive Dave Richardson.

McCullum is playing for Chennai in the Indian Premier League and confirmed last night he was returning home this week for the birth of his third child.

White confirmed McCullum was interviewed more than once by anti-corruption officials and NZC was kept updated.

He was aware of other New Zealanders who had given evidence to anti-corruption officials but was unaware of any other current players.

"A lot of this is linked to six or seven years ago so it's quite historic in terms of the people they can talk to," White said.

News of McCullum's interview comes days after former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent's explosive testimony, where he admitted to spot-fixing, was also made public.

McCullum told investigators he was first approached in 2008 in Kolkata before the start of the inaugural IPL.

He told investigators that the star - known as X - telephoned him to meet at his hotel to discuss a "business opportunity".

"We spent some time talking about various things over dinner," McCullum said.

"During the course of this conversation he asked me if I knew what spread betting was in cricket games. I told him not really, so he took a piece of paper and wrote down and explained the process to me.

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"I was really shocked as I saw X as a good friend and it totally confused me. X said that everybody was doing this in games.

"He said that the 'Big Boys' in international cricket were doing it and he didn't want me to miss out."

McCullum told investigators X explained the basic principles which were to score below a certain rate for the first six or so overs and then towards the end of the game there was another split.

He was told he could get between US$70,000 and US$180,000 (up to NZ$208,000) a game.

"X told me he had a good group working for him in the ICL and I understand this to mean fixing for him," McCullum said.

"It was my opinion then, as it is now, that X was actively concerned in fixing . . . I believed he was asking me to do the same thing for him in the IPL as others were doing in the ICL."

Despite McCullum saying he has "never, ever fixed", he didn't have the courage to say no immediately and instead said he would think about it, before returning to his hotel in a "state of shock", his evidence stated.

Later the star telephoned him and McCullum told him he was not interested.

"He was a hero who became a friend so I always found it difficult to say no," McCullum said.

Weeks later, the superstar tried to coerce McCullum again, the Mail reported. After his stint in the IPL, McCullum joined the New Zealand squad in England.

"We were staying in Worcester and he called asking to catch up," McCullum said.

"He said he was just down the road and suggested we meet for breakfast. I thought it strange he was in the area. X asked if I'd changed my mind and I knew he was talking about fixing. I told him I had not."

- Stuff

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