Chris Cairns launches his counter-attack
Chris Cairns strode defiantly into Auckland Airport's arrivals hall and lobbed another grenade that left everyone ducking for cover.
As another explosive day in the match-fixing saga wore on, a flurry of "no comments" followed, from New Zealand Cricket and some of its biggest names.
Cairns outed fellow New Zealand captains Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills as providing interviews this year to the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit (ACSU) about the approach current skipper Brendon McCullum alleges Cairns made to him in 2008. None were commenting. A British courtroom may be the only place the allegations receive a full airing.
Regardless, Cairns remains on the front foot and will proclaim his innocence.
Yesterday he appeared tense, his hands shaking, but warmed to his task as he read a prepared statement. It is understood he paid for his return ticket to London to complete part two of his interview with the Metropolitan Police on Monday, then receive his long-awaited audience with ICC and England and Wales Cricket Board anti-corruption officials on Wednesday.
"Knowing what I now know of these allegations against me, I find the situation truly absurd, bizarre and scary," he said.
"I now wait to see what happens next. Whatever happens, I am hopeful that proper process will be followed and that I will be cleared of these allegations."
Based on the information Cairns was provided in London, he said Fleming, Vettori and Mills made no direct accusations against him.
Two of them made statements supporting McCullum's claim that he spoke to them, the third told investigators his memory was foggy and he could not make a statement in support of McCullum. Cairns wouldn't reveal who that was, but said it was significant that none had spoken to the ICC until this year.
He also turned the spotlight back on McCullum, who is in India with his Chennai coach Fleming, preparing for the IPL semifinals.
No one has yet given a definitive date on when McCullum first told the ICC of Cairns' alleged approach in India in March 2008.
McCullum was about to shed light on it at last week's press conference before he was cut short by NZC chief executive David White.
Yesterday, NZC wouldn't respond to questions about whether White stood by his previous quote that there was "a small delay" in McCullum reporting the alleged approach. Cairns said that was "misleading".
"Mr McCullum first made his allegations to the ICC's ACSU on 17 February, 2011. Not only was this nearly three years after the alleged approach, but importantly it is 13 months before the trial, in March, 2012, of my case in the London High Court against Lalit Modi about match-fixing," Cairns said.
"At that trial, every allegation that I was match-fixing was shown to be false. It is extraordinary that Mr McCullum told the ACSU in February 2011 that three years previously I approached him to match-fix, yet neither he nor the ACSU anti-corruption officer that took his statement, Mr John Rhodes, took that information to the ICC or informed Mr Modi or anyone else of this startling revelation."
Cairns also labelled evidence given against him to the ACSU by confessed fixer Lou Vincent and his ex-wife Elly Riley as "despicable lies".
He now awaits developments in Auckland. With the Met Police having completed its interviews, it hands over to the Crown Prosecution Service which will decide whether Cairns is charged over allegations he perjured himself at the 2012 Modi trial.
Cairns concluded: "I have said that there are dark forces at play here. The just concluded trip to England has not persuaded me to think any differently."
The Dominion Post