Cairns v Modi March 7, 2012

Rumours made Cairns 'barking' angry

Internet rumours that suggested Chris Cairns had been involved in match-fixing during his time with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) had made him "barking" angry, according to his advisor Andrew Fitch-Holland, who gave evidence on the third day of Cairns' libel action against Lalit Modi.

Cairns is suing Modi for defamation over a 2010 tweet that implicated him in corruption. He has vigorously denied claims of fixing. Cairns, the retired New Zealand international, captained Chandigarh Lions in the ICL for three seasons before having his contract cancelled, officially for failing to disclose an injury.

Following the meeting with ICL officials in 2008 that led to his dismissal, Cairns became aware of online gossip linking his departure with match-fixing. The rumours had appeared on a "plethora of fan-based websites across the world," Fitch-Holland said.

Although Cairns was concerned about this, Fitch-Holland said he advised that he "did not think it was a good idea to call out the big guns" at that time.

"It would have been a disproportionate response to low-level, unspecified tittle-tattle," he said. However, he contrasted this with the allegations made in Modi's tweet.

"There is a massive difference between that and your client saying it," Fitch-Holland said, in response to questioning from Ronald Thwaites QC, representing Modi. Fitch-Holland added that he had spoken to major media outlets in the UK during late 2008 to reiterate that Cairns had been sacked by the ICL over an ankle injury.

The court also heard from Cairns' wife, Mel. Describing the moment she asked Cairns if he had been involved in fixing, she said it was "the most horrible question I have ever had to ask". Cairns had replied "absolutely not", she said. There were tears in her eyes as she answered Thwaites' question as to whether she believed him.

"When something is said, over and over, accusing the man that you love of something … Of course I want to believe him and I do believe him," she said.

Fitch-Holland was the last witness to appear for Cairns. Later on Wednesday the court will hear evidence from Howard Beer, the former ICL anti-corruption officer, who is appearing on behalf of Modi.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasir Mehmood on March 7, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    Cairns has been a wonderful athlete, it is not the spirit of the game to defame people like him. If ICC didn't recognize ICL then simply ICC can't take any action against him. If somebody has any proves, he can forward these to New Zealand cricket board. But rumors and speculations are not the spirit of the game by any means.

  • Prasanth on March 7, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    Dire... totally one sided stuff... Guy got close to a mill dinar for doing nuthin... it's clear as sky...

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    ICC/modi whoever is the concerned party should put up some prooof if there is any...merely based on suspicious acts if they declare him to be match fixer then it isnt proper.

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