Ravi Sawani, the former general manager of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), has questioned the remarks made by the former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who termed the approach of the anti-corruption watchdog "casual".
Delivering the MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord's on Monday, McCullum, who gave match-fixing evidence against his former team-mate Chris Cairns at Southwark Crown Court in London last year, said he felt the ACSU's evidence-gathering had to be "much more thorough, more professional".
In his testimony during Cairns' perjury trial, McCullum had said that, on the eve of New Zealand's first match of the 2011 World Cup, he and Daniel Vettori, then captain, had gone to the hotel room of the ACSU representative John Rhodes to report the approaches that Cairns had allegedly made in 2008, when McCullum was playing the inaugural season of the IPL in India. McCullum recollected Rhodes taking notes but not recording their conversation.
According to McCullum, Rhodes said his notes would "probably end up" at the bottom of the file. "When I made my first statement to the ICC, my impression was that it would be put in the bottom draw and never see the light of day again. No attempt was made to elicit a full and comprehensive statement from me on that occasion," McCullum told the audience at the lecture.
Cairns, who retired from international cricket in 2006, had been part of the un-sanctioned Indian Cricket League in 2008, the tournament which gave rise to the allegations of which he was subsequently acquitted. However, Sawani said the ACSU could not have used McCullum's statement against Cairns since the ICL did not fall under the ICC umbrella.
"We could not have used any part of what McCullum had told us against Chris Cairns in any manner because Chris Cairns was not under the ICC jurisdiction at that moment," Sawani told ESPNcricinfo.
"He [Cairns] was accused of doing something when he was part of the ICL operations. As per the ACSU code Cairns had not done anything in any ICC-controlled match so there was no necessity for us to prosecute Chris Cairns. Also, because we had taken a decision not to prosecute McCullum for the delay in reporting an approach, there was no requirement for recording McCullum's statement in a detailed manner."
After speaking to Rhodes, McCullum made detailed statements to the ACSU and the Metropolitan Police in London in 2014. The Metropolitan Police, McCullum said, was "streets ahead in terms of professionalism" compared to the ACSU. Sawani, however, disagreed with McCullum.
"The Met Police recorded his statement to criminally prosecute Chris Cairns and his lawyer [who was also acquitted] for certain offences as per the English law and obviously they went into great details as to what happened and exactly what was the cause of the statement that he had made and what happened thereafter," Sawani said. "It had to be evidence recorded as per the procedure prescribed in English criminal law and then used during criminal proceedings."
According to Sawani, the ACSU took a well-deliberated decision not to punish McCullum for his failure to report the approach three years after Cairns allegedly made it.
"I took that decision that no action need be taken against Brendon McCullum," Sawani said. "McCullum was stating something three years late about an incident. No action was taken even though technically it was an offence. The player himself had come forward to report an approach about which we were not aware and it would have been stupid on our part to punish him for that."
Later in 2014, McCullum's second statement to the ICC was leaked in the Daily Mail. McCullum said he still did not know how his statement had found its way into the paper, and if anyone had been held accountable.
"To report an approach and to give evidence requires considerable courage - players deserve much better," McCullum said. "How can the game's governing body expect players to co-operate with it when it is then responsible for leaking confidential statements to the media?"
However, Sawani denied that anyone within the ACSU would have divulged any details to an outsider, adding that there were others present in the room each time McCullum recorded a statement.
"McCullum himself admitted this," Sawani said, "when he said 'I had told other people about Cairns' approaches - one of them was my captain and friend, Dan Vettori'. There were many possibilities. The truth is out there somewhere and only Ed Hawkins [Daily Mail reporter] can say from where he sourced extracts of that statement."