Former NZC boss disappointed, not surprised

AARON LAWTON AND DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:53 06/12/2013

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Justin Vaughan, the New Zealand cricket boss at the time of the Indian Twenty20 revolution, says he's disappointed rather than surprised that Black Caps are linked to match fixing allegations.

The spotlight has fallen on ex-internationals Chris Cairns, Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey as the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed their anti-corruption unit was investigating "a small number" of former New Zealand players in a probe involving "historic matches".

Asked for his reactions, Vaughan, who now works in Australia, said: "I wouldn't say I'm necessarily surprised but I'm disappointed, definitely.

"You never want to think that a New Zealand cricketer would be involved in this type of investigation but the reality is it's a global sport and I guess New Zealanders are just as likely as any other nationality to be involved."

Vaughan's comments echoed those expressed by former New Zealand fast bowler Iain O'Brien yesterday who said it would be "naive" to think New Zealanders weren't involved in match-fixing and that he doubted any countries were 100 per cent clean.

Cairns, Vincent and Tuffey all played in the same team in the now-defunct Indian Cricket league that was set up to counter the Indian Premier League as the T20 game exploded in popularity.

That is their common link alongside Black Caps representation.

The ICC has remained tight-lipped on the probe, other than to confirm it was taking place. It refused to reveal names or games.

New Zealand Cricket emphasised the investigation didn't involve matches in New Zealand or games under its jurisdiction.

Vaughan said there had been no hint of problems during his time in charge, although national bodies were often kept in the dark to increase the effectiveness of investigations.

"They [the ICC] generally don't tell you," he said.

"They feel that compromises national boards to be advised of ongoing investigations until they've come to some sort of conclusion.

"I'm unclear of what's happened in this particular case. There certainly . . . or I wasn't made aware at least, of any investigations related to New Zealand players [in my time] in terms of any competitions that were under the auspices of the ICC."

Vaughan said that while rumours had circulated around the Indian Cricket league "we never saw evidence and at the time, I believe, the ICC had felt because it was an unsanctioned event that it was outside of the scope of their anti-corruption unit".

Yesterday Vincent confirmed he was co-operating with the investigation. Cairns said he had had no contact with investigators and Tuffey's wife suggested from Sydney where they live, that her husband was also in the dark.

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Cairns was emotional when he spoke to Fairfax Media last night on his return to Auckland from Dunedin where he cut short his TV commentary work to be with his family and advisers, and deal with the speculation.

Having won a high profile court case in London last year to clear his name against tweeted allegations from Indian powerbroker Lalit Modi, Cairns appeared genuinely shocked by the latest developments.

He said his "heart sank" when he heard his name linked to the investigations.

Late last night he released a statement saying: "No representative of the ICC, New Zealand Cricket or the New Zealand Players Association has contacted me in regard to any connection by me to an investigation into alleged fixing.

"I have no information, and was therefore shocked and dismayed to discover the speculation in today's media. "Twenty months ago, the High Court in England ruled that I've done nothing wrong - which is on record for everyone to see.

"After an exhaustive trial process, the judge ruled that my accuser had . . . 'singularly failed to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was'.

"Like you, I will be looking for answers."

Yesterday's stunning turn of events came against a backdrop of impressive play by the current Black Caps in the first test against the West Indies in Dunedin.

Star bowler Tim Southee admitted there had been a bit of changing-room talk about the situation but the team had tried to maintain there focus, something he felt they had achieved as they took control of the test.

"There were a few conversations going around but it is out of our hands, there's nothing we can do about it," he said.

"Once we got to the ground we got our game faces on and concentrated on the job in hand.

"It was a good day [on the field] and it is disappointing to hear [about the allegations], but as a team we're concentrating on the job we have to do in the next couple of days."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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