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May 19, 2014
O' Brien: I wanted Vincent to come clean
Iain O'Brien, the former New Zealand fast bowler, has called on cricket authorities to do more to combat corruption, in particular reduce the time lag between incidents occurring and their resolution. He was speaking a day after it was leaked that New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum testified to ICC anti-corruption authorities about an approach to underperform in 2008.
"It's taken a long time, we're talking about an approach way back in 2008, that's a long time ago, we haven't had any resolution since then," O'Brien told ESPNcricinfo. "As cricketers we are kind of dealing with an organisation that hasn't done enough … maybe leaking it [McCullum's testimony] is the way to get things moving forward."
O'Brien also revealed that in 2012 he confronted Lou Vincent, who is the subject of an ICC anti-corruption investigation and has reportedly given information of 'widespread fixing' in the game, and talked about asking Vincent to come clean over his dealings in the unofficial Indian Cricket League around six years ago. "I wanted to know, I wanted to find out, because we all knew, and this is the thing, there was nothing we could do at that time, ICL - outside of any jurisdiction, so there is no one to report what we see, and I wanted to find out from him what he had been up to.
"I wanted to find out because I wanted him to come forward, I wanted him to own up, and then the people that corrupted him, I wanted him to take them down, out of the game and out of the system."
O'Brien wanted more resolve to be shown when dealing with fixing. "We need to talk about it, we need to realise how entrenched and how shadowy that this all is, and if we don't discuss it, we don't try and push things forward then it just keeps ticking over in the background, until we actually confront this and confront it properly, there's always going to be rumours and speculation, let's have it all out in the open."
Though he had spoken to Vincent in 2012, O'Brien said he couldn't push things further. "Without proof you are just a libel case away from being in a very bad place, we know that, we can't talk about those things, and it is the hardest thing to prove," he said. "The corruption unit is basically there to report advances to by players, and it is also there for players to come to when they know things are going on … it is not there for us to dial in and speculate from the outside, from the couch if you like, it is for players on the inside to report."
O'Brien talked about how the ACSU worked in the Mervyn Westfield case, and England batsman Eoin Morgan, speaking at an press conference, stressed the importance of getting in touch with them. "Recognising some conversation or being approached is crucial and reporting it is even more crucial."
Morgan said education and harsh penalties are necessary to curb the menace of fixing. "Everyone knows you have to say no to corruption, education is in place from early on in county career through to senior level and it is important for guys to come out and say this is unacceptable, people have to be punished for it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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