The New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association has hit out at Lou Vincent’s life-ban from cricket, according to BBC Sport.
Vincent admitted an unprecedented 18 counts of match-fixing, and has now been exiled from the game entirely by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
However, the Kiwis are standing by their former star, insisting that the severity of his punishment will prevent others from speaking out. The head of their Players’ Association, Heath Mills, described Vincent’s actions as “unacceptable” and requiring “heavy sanctions”. And yet, he added: “By not giving people credit for coming forward and providing information, you are effectively putting up a significant barrier for anyone coming forward in the future”.
Vincent decided to come clean after being the subject of an ICC investigation which began in December 2013, and issued a horribly frank, public admission, starting with the words: “My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat”.
It was a confession that echoed that of Hansie Cronje in 2000, in perhaps the most famous match-fixing scandal of all, after the former South Africa captain admitted fixing an ODI against India.
In an alarming twist, Vincent revealed that he was once threatened with a cricket bat by fixers, after he mistakenly hit a six, which was contrary to their agreement.
The 35-year-old will not be allowed to play or coach any form of organised cricket, due to his illegal actions between 2008 and 2011.
Having previously taken part in the Bangladesh Premier League, the Bangladesh Cricket Board were the first to take action against the shamed all-rounder. He was initially banned for three years, though that particular suspension did not relate to his own match-fixing; rather, he was punished for failing to alert the authorities when he was approached, an offence in itself.
The England and Wales Cricket Board came next, because of his involvement in fixing a game between Sussex and Kent in 2011, alongside Naved Arif, who likewise received a lifetime ban.
Vincent is certainly unique in his brutally honest admissions. Others who have been dealt similar punishments have appealed the decisions, including former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria and his three former team mates, Salman Butt, Mohammed Amir, and Mohammed Asif.
Such honesty can only be beneficial, and though he received no less of a ban for coming forward, the man who played 23 Tests and 102 ODIs has at least undone some of the harm match-fixing has inflicted on the game’s reputation.
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