Three of Chris Cairns' former team-mates in the Indian Cricket League have reiterated earlier witness statements accusing the former New Zealand cricketer of being involved in match-fixing.
The High Court of London heard evidence via a live video link today from former Chandigarh Lions players Gaurav Gupta, Karanveer Singh and Rajesh Sharma on the the sixth day of Cairns' libel suit against deposed Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi.
Cairns is suing Modi over a 2010 tweet that alleged the New Zealander had been barred from the IPL because of an involvement with match-fixing during his time in the rival ICL. His case is that the allegation was "wholly untrue" and a libel which would destroy what he had achieved in a 20-year career if uncorrected.
The case started its second week in the wake of further cricket fixing revelations from Indian bookmaker Vicky Seth, who told an undercover reporter from the Sunday Times in Britain, which didn't name two New Zealand players he claimed to have connections with.
Cairns was captain of Chandigarh in the ICL Twenty20 competition but had his contract terminated in October 2008, during the third edition of the tournament.
The official line was that Cairns had breached his contract for failing to disclose an injury.
Speaking from Delhi, Gupta and Karanveer stood by statements read out in court last week, in which they made separate allegations against Cairns.
Gupta, a former first-class batsmen in India, alleged that Cairns told him to score "no more than five runs" during a match between Chandigarh and the Mumbai Champs.
When questioned about evidence given late last week by former South African international Andrew Hall, who succeeded Cairns as the captain of Chandigarh, Gupta denied telling Hall that the instruction had been given by Dinesh Mongia, Cricinfo reported.
Mongia, a former Indian international, was essentially Cairns' vice-captain at Chandigarh and has been accused of being a co-conspirator.
"No, Chris Cairns told me between the innings and on the pitch as well," Gupta said on the video link.
It was claimed in court last week that Cairns had joined Gupta at the crease when the latter was on four and had told him to "get out now".
Karanveer, a legspinner who was 19 at the time, described a meeting in which Mongia allegedly told him and his father that everyone within the ICL knew about fixing. He said that he was shocked and "broken from inside" when he heard this.
He described a subsequent conversation with Cairns that took place during training, in which Karanveer was asked if he had spoken to Mongia, Cricinfo reported.
"This talk was about match-fixing, I was very much convinced," Karanveer said, though Cairns did not refer to any specific instructions.
Sharma, who required the assistance of a Hindi translator to give evidence, reiterated his claim that Cairns told him to "keep quiet" about match-fixing, and said that he had concluded from this conversation that Cairns was involved.
Cairns denies discussing fixing with Sharma, who has previously admitted to receiving money from spot-fixing.
Modi was expected to take the witness stand late last week but did not, which has angered Cairns, who stormed out of the court.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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