Chris Cairns' lawyer 'appalled and disgusted'
Legal representatives acting for an angry Chris Cairns have sent a letter to the International Cricket Council demanding to know if the former Black Caps star is a target of their investigation into match-fixing allegations involving New Zealand players.
They say Cairns is "happy to co-operate" with any investigation but they want the situation spelled out as their client continues to be linked to a probe he knows nothing about.
Barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland confirmed these details from London when contacted by Fairfax Media today.
His comments followed Cairns' own similar comments yesterday - responding to overseas reports linking him to the ICC investigation of an un-named group of three cricketers.
Fitch-Holland is "staggered, appalled and disgusted" at what has unfolded over the last day after the ICC and New Zealand Cricket confirmed "a small number" of former New Zealand players were under investigation for alleged indiscretions in "historic matches".
They had said confidentiality prevented them naming players yet three names had been bandied about with Lou Vincent confirming he was under investigation.
"First of all I'm staggered ... if he is under investigation I'm staggered and in fact appalled that has leaked from somewhere. One can only assume that the ICC know the names and New Zealand Cricket know the names. Where has this leak come from and I hope that is properly investigated.," Fitch-Holland said.
"Frankly, I think that's disgusting. And I find it utterly bizarre that there is nothing for Chris to refute because no allegations have been put to him.
"We have written to the ICC pointing out that Chris is happy to co-operate with any investigation and we have asked them to confirm whether he is being investigated and pointing out that if he is being investigated, can they please direct their inquiries to Collyer Bristow who will make arrangements for Chris to be interviewed.
"But also, most importantly, how has this been leaked, if it's true, what's going on?
Because the break of confidentiality is a breach of the ICC rules."
Having helped Cairns clear his name in the London High Court against tweeted allegations made by Indian cricket powerbroker Lalit Modi last year, Fitch-Holland is upset to see his client being dragged through the mud again.
"It goes back to fairness. People's reputations are ultimately all that they have got, particularly in sport," Fitch-Holland said.
"It's very easy to start smearing people ... it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth when this sort of nonsense rears its head again.
"I don't like the fact that we have got big sports bodies like NZC and the ICC saying we know who it is and we're not saying anything.
"They haven't said a word to Chris and yet we have his name being bandied around in the press, it can't be right, that can't be fair.
"He's got kids, he's got a wife, he's got a life.
"He's back home trying to get on with his life. He has given up enough of his life dealing with this crap, how much more has he got to take. It's not on."
Fitch-Holland felt the lengthy trial had made it clear where Cairns stood.
"I just hope that people remember that Chris gave up a number of years of his life fighting a man who was at that point the most powerful man in world cricket to have his reputation totally vindicated ... which it was in the High Court.
"The judgment for that case is available online. Rumour, innuendo and headlines are really easy, as is Twitter. People need to read what the judge said about the nonsense that people were prepared to say about Chris.
"It makes for some very interesting reading. The judge went through methodically all the evidence that was presented and his conclusion was that there is no evidence to believe that not only Chris wasn't involved in match-fixing, or any grounds to believe that he was.
"People were concerned about Chris and I hope they admired him for having the guts to say, you know what, 'I'm not putting up with this, I'm going to clear my name'. Fair play to the guy, time to move on.
"I would hope most people in New Zealand would be thinking, come on, what now, what more does the guy have to do? He's just gone [up against] a multi-millionaire with limited resources, all those people in India who were prepared to tell lies about them ... he was called a liar again and again and again. The one thing that was clearly established in those proceedings is that Chris Cairns is not a cheat. So why now?"
Fitch-Holland said ICC chief executive Dave Richardson had written to him after the case saying that Cairns was not under investigation by the ICC and "we hope that he can gain closure and get on with his life".
"That was the last contact that we have had with the ICC. So I find this just a little shocking to be honest," Fitch-Holland said.
The legal firm is looking into the ramifications of cairns having his name spread around the global media linked to the investigation.
"We're all assuming that just because this has been said [in the media], it's true," Fitch-Holland said.
"It's a really, really odd situation ... let's suppose it turns out Chris is not one of the three, then where are we going to be? This is really quite frightening in its own way."