New Zealand cricketing great has his reputation cast into doubt.
Former all-rounder Chris Cairns acknowledged Thursday an International Cricket Council (ICC) investigation into match-fixing involving three New Zealanders.
“We need to let the investigation by the ICC run its course,” the New Zealander said in a brief statement to Fairfax Media, adding it was the only comment he was prepared to make.
Cairns was working for Sky TV as a commentator in Dunedin where New Zealand are playing the West Indies, but left the ground early in the afternoon.
A Sky TV spokesman said Cairns “elected to stop commentating on the current Test match and come back to Auckland to be with his family”.
“Sky will be talking to him over the coming days.”
Former New Zealand international Lou Vincent confirmed he was “cooperating” with the ICC.
“This investigation is bound by a number of rules and regulations that mean I am unable to make any further public comment,” he said in a statement.
Another player linked to the investigation is now believed to be living in Australia.
Both the ICC and New Zealand Cricket have refused to identify the three players under investigation, other than saying they are former internationals and that no charges have been laid.
NZC chief executive David White said earlier he knew the names of the players but would not elaborate, other than saying that current members of the New Zealand team were not involved.
“We have been aware for a number of months,” White said.
“We are shocked and surprised, and support the ICC investigation as corruption has no place in our sport.”
The ICC’s anti-corruption unit has spent four months in New Zealand investigating match- and spot-fixing, which The New Zealand Herald said took place in more than one country.
The ICC probe did not involve any games played in New Zealand nor any under NZC jurisdiction, White said.
The ICC statement said it maintained a “zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption in the sport” but declined to comment further on an ongoing investigation.
Cairns last year won 90,000 pounds ($147,000) in a libel action against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi in London.
He had sued over an “unequivocal allegation” of involvement in match-fixing made on Modi’s Twitter account in January 2010.
Earlier this year, the NZC dismissed an English newspaper report quoting an Indian bookmaker saying he had been involved in match-fixing with New Zealand players.
“The sources are not credible and the accusations are unsubstantiated, making them irresponsible, damaging and untrue,” White said in a statement at the time.