New Zealand Cricket are standing by Brendon McCullum after reports on his anti-corruption testimony.
The Kiwis captain told the International Cricket Council (ICC) he had been approached by a “hero” who he would never have expected to be involved in match-fixing, and that some of the offers involved figures up to $180,000.
The attempted bribery, in which McCullum was asked to bat slowly, reportedly took place in Worcester in 2008. McCullum had not reported the approach immediately, which is against ICC rules, but no action will be taken against the batsman.
New Zealand have confirmed their player is not under investigation, but expressed their disappointment that the evidence had been leaked to the British press, particularly as it could deter other players from following suit.
News of McCullum’s testimony comes just a week after Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand Test batsman, admitted he had deliberately underperformed in English county matches and in the now defunct Indian Cricket League. Vincent claims to have participated in twelve fixed games, and is thought to have links to the same former cricketer McCullum has now reported.
Perhaps even more alarming for the authorities is that McCullum was told by this unnamed player that “all the ‘Big Boys’” in the game were involved in illegal activity, though it has not been reported whether there is any evidence for this.
The allegations made by Vincent and McCullum are certainly being taken extremely seriously by the ICC, who hope the net is closing on the reported individual. The latest revelations will not help the governing body, though, compounded by England captain Alastair Cook’s recent comments that not enough is being done to tackle fixing in the game.
Warwickshire’s Ian Bell reiterated those fears, particularly in the county game where there are little to no controls on players’ activities in the pavilion. It had been widely thought, until recently, that English county cricket had few problems of that kind, but Vincent’s comments might lead County Championship authorities to look a bit more closely.
The Pakistan spot-fixing scandal of 2010 was hoped by many to be a turning point, after which new measures were introduced to better educate players all over the world as to how to handle illegal approaches.
McCullum admits he did not immediately reject the proposition due to being in shock, and later called the player from his hotel room to confirm he was not interested. He has told the ICC categorically that he has never fixed a match.
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