A dazed and confused Chris Cairns says he is living a recurring nightmare after match-fixing allegations once again engulfed the New Zealand cricketing great yesterday.
In a lengthy and occasionally emotional interview with Fairfax Media last night, the former Black Caps star was on the verge of tears as he revealed the toll that the allegations he is being investigated by the International Cricket Council for match-fixing was taking on his family.
He said he was “100 per cent in the dark” about the ICC's reported allegations against him and two other former Black Caps, Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey, and that his family, in particular his mother and father - former international Lance - were doing it “tough”.
“The hardest thing is the impact on my mum, my dad, my family,” he said last night.
Cairns cut short his TV commentary duties with Sky during yesterday's test match between New Zealand and the West Indies in Dunedin, to fly back to Auckland last night to be with his family and trusted advisors.
He said his “heart sank” when he heard he had been linked to the ICC's anti-corruption unit's investigation into three former Kiwi internationals.
But he was defiant, declaring he had nothing to hide and would co-operate with ICC investigators. At the same time, he remained bewildered that he was being linked to an investigation despite having had no contact with “anyone” and was “looking for answers”.
“I haven't heard from anyone. I haven't heard from anyone from the ICC, from anti-corruption,” he said. “Honestly, I'm as much in the dark as you are.”
Vincent yesterday released a statement that he was co-operating with the ICC inquest. Tuffey could not be contacted but his wife told Fairfax Media from Sydney that she was shocked by the allegations and that he was taking advice.
"This has all just come out of the blue. He doesn't even know where anything's coming from. I don't even know where he is or where he's up to,” Dearne Berry said.
Cairns was similarly shocked by the claims yesterday and told reporters that upon arrival in Auckland.
He elaborated in a lengthy interview with Fairfax afterwards where he stated:
- He felt like he was in recurring nightmare after having last year successfully defended in London's High Court similar match-fixing allegations made by a prominent Indian administrator.
- That he felt he had been “broad-sided” by the ICC given it had had no contact with him despite media reports an investigator has been in New Zealand for the past four months.
- He would co-operate with ICC investigators but would be incredulous if the investigations related to the same allegations made by Lalit Modi, often referred to as the “godfather of Indian cricket”, which Cairns defended in his libel case, winning $174,000 in damages and dumping Modi with his $774,000 legal bill.
- The allegations were impacting significantly on his parents and wife.
Cairns said the ICC was welcome to investigate the claim of alleged match-fixing made by Modi on Twitter in 2010, which related to his time two years earlier as captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the now defunct and unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL), saying he had already been “vindicated” in the English high court.
“My soul was laid bare for two weeks in that place and I wouldn't wish that on anyone,” he said.
“The high court ruling was such and the record is there for everyone to see.”
“I've been open with the ICC the whole time.
“We actually got a letter from the anti-corruption unit during the trial that we released in the court papers which said that the unit had never done any investigation on me.
“I'm completely open to talk to anybody in any division of the cricketing world. I'm more than happy to speak to anyone.”
He also questioned how the issue had become public before he'd been contacted by the ICC.
“That's the question burning in my head. If this is the ICC anti-corruption unit's secretive investigation, how has the media got it? We've got a million questions.”
Cairns, Tuffey and Vincent last played together for Chandigarh in 2008. Cairns led the side in the ICL, which only lasted two seasons.
However, it's understood the ICC does not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate on non-sanctioned “rebel” leagues, suggesting their investigation of the former Black Caps must come from subsequent events.
“That same thing crossed my mind,” Cairns admitted of the ICC's inability to look at the ICL.
Cairns retired as a player in 2008 while Tuffey's career continued across competitions in New Zealand, Hong Kong and for the Auckland Aces in India. Vincent has played in the Bangladesh T20 league, English county cricket, Zimbabwe and also for the Aces at the 2011 Champions League tournament in India.
Cairns had long stints in the English professional game, his last coming in 2008 when he played T20 cricket for Nottinghamshire.