Lou Vincent staying away from the 'limelight'

CHARGED: Lou Vincent has been charged with 14 match-fixing offences relating to two English county cricket matches in 2011.
CHARGED: Lou Vincent has been charged with 14 match-fixing offences relating to two English county cricket matches in 2011.

Disgraced cricketer Lou Vincent is laying low but "doing OK" after being charged with match fixing by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Fairfax Media visited Vincent's home north of Auckland yesterday but there were no sightings of the 35-year-old.

However, a spokesman for the New Zealand Cricket Players Association had been in contact with Vincent after news broke of him being charged with 14 offences relating to two matches he played for English county Sussex in August 2011 - a Twenty20 game against Lancashire and a 40-over clash with Kent.

The spokesman said Vincent was "doing OK, considering".

Attempts to find out the exact nature of Vincent's likely life time ban from cricket proved fruitless yesterday.

New Zealand Cricket did not return calls so it remains to be seen whether the ban stretches as far as stepping onto any cricket ground in the country, down to his local club or watching his children play at the local park.

Vincent's only public comment was a statement insisting he never made a plea bargain. He would work through match fixing charges as required by the ECB.

"The fact of the charges, and more are likely, dispel any notions of a plea bargain having been done as unfortunately appears to be wrongly suggested by others," he said.

As well as Vincent, a Pakistani player, Naveed Arif, was charged overnight by the ECB under its anti-corruption code. He faced charges for six offences relating to the Kent match. He was alleged to be Vincent's accomplice.

The Kent 40-over match was televised live and attracted bets on regulated gambling websites totalling more than $24 million, the highest for any match of its kind. Vincent was run out for one off six balls as Sussex collapsed to be dismissed for 202, 14 runs short of their target.

If the players were found guilty, it would be the first proven case of the result of an English county game being fixed.

Despite the jailing in England in the past two-and-a-half-years of three Pakistani internationals and a county player for spot-fixing, it was thought unlikely the pair would face criminal charges because such prosecutions were not believed a wise use of taxpayer money, English newspaper the Telegraph reported.

Meanwhile, details emerged of a recorded Skype conversation between Vincent and Chris Cairns' former lawyer, Andrew Fitch-Holland, that could play a major part in Scotland Yard's investigation into Cairns.

According to the NZ Herald, the conversation took place before Cairns' successful libel suit against former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi's accusations of match fixing in the now defunct Indian Cricket League.

Fitch-Holland was a witness in the libel trial.

In March, Fitch-Holland was arrested by British police on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. He was released on bail but was interviewed again last month.

The conversation took place over Skype and was recorded by Vincent, Fitch-Holland's lawyer Tony Wyatt told the paper.

"Mr Fitch-Holland obviously accepts it's him on the call. He accepts that everything on the call is accurate.

"What he told the police in the interview is effectively that any way [the call] seems incriminating is because he and Mr Vincent are talking at cross-purposes.

"There's no dispute to the accuracy of the recording, it's all about context."

To the newspaper, Fitch-Holland appeared to agree a particular ICL match was fixed, but Wyatt contended that Fitch-Holland was saying to Vincent he knew the game was dodgy because of corruption by Indian and Pakistani players, not Cairns or any "Western" players.

The Dominion Post