The Post

Vincent details ‘evil world’ to save others


CHANCES are you have watched a fixed cricket match without realising: it’s almost impossible to detect, recidivist fixer Lou Vincent has told Chris Cairns’ perjury trial.

On a day when he changed his testimony and admitted sleeping with a prostitute whom a bookmaker had sent to him as a ‘‘present’’, Vincent also gave Southwark Crown Court a fascinatin­g insight into match-fixing.

If the game was live on TV and there was betting on it, there was a higher chance the fixers were at play, particular­ly if it was in India, he said. ‘‘The average person watching a game – no one could tell. It’s very hard to detect.’’

In a Twenty20 (20 overs) game a batsman could change the course of a match by underperfo­rming – not going for his shots, picking out the field, getting run out needlessly.

‘‘It’s virtually impossible to fix a match as an individual,’’ he told the court.

Rather than engineer the result, which is difficult, players fixed brackets of games – batting slowly for a set number of overs so that those in the know could bet on a certainty.

Vincent helped fix matches in India and county matches in England, where he played for Lancashire and Sussex.

It was at Sussex that he had a change of heart, and went back on a prearrange­d fix with an Indian bookie.

‘‘He requested me to spot fix over a three-over period, where he wanted the team to score 14 runs.’’

Vincent changed his mind and gave a signal that the fix was off, strode to the pitch – and was bowled first ball.

After telling the court he wanted to come clean about his match-fixing – which he alleges Cairns got him into – he altered his story on the prostitute while being cross-examined by Orlando Pownall, QC. He said the prostitute was a ‘‘present’’ used as match-fixing bait by a bookie.

Hours earlier, he had given the court the impression – by omission of detail – he had not slept with her.

He had not lied, he had omitted that detail from his report to the Internatio­nal Cricket Council on the incident to protect his then wife, he said.

The first witness called, Vincent was in the dock the whole day, as he was likely to be for most of today (NZT).

His evidence is crucial to the case, in which Cairns faces criminal charges carrying a maximum six years in jail.

It traversed the dark underbelly of match-fixing, where results or scoring rates are rigged in advance so those in the know can cash in. It also took in Vincent’s personal woes, his battle with depression after being dropped from the New Zealand team in 2007 and his use of cannabis and anti-depressant­s.

When 2009 was raised by Crown prosecutor Sasha Wass, QC, Vincent asked for time. Visibly upset, he left the courtroom, clutching the hand of his wife, Susie, on the way out.

He later told the court ‘‘2009 was a horrendous year for my personal and mental health’’. That was the year his first marriage fell apart.

Cairns, 45, is accused of lying under oath when he said he had ‘‘never’’ cheated at cricket. The former New Zealand internatio­nal has said he had never instructed Vincent or anyone else to underperfo­rm at cricket.

Vincent has admitted cheating at cricket. He is serving a life ban from the sport for doing so. It began when Cairns

Three Kiwis were central to fixing Chandigarh Lions games in the 2008 Indian Cricket League: Cairns, Vincent and fast bowler Daryl Tuffey.

Vincent helped fix four matches. Cairns gave him the role of scoring 10 to 15 runs off 20 balls, then getting out.

Vincent was an unreliable fixer, in one game belting 28 off 27 balls when he was meant to have been dismissed in the teens. Cairns told him to practise getting out.

Cairns was so angry he threatened Vincent with the bat in front of Tuffey. Vincent was never paid the US$50,000 a match promised.

Match-fixing when he played county cricket for Lancashire, and later Sussex, has raised the prospect of Vincent facing criminal charges in England.

In England in 2011 he fixed matches for an Indian bookie he knew as Varun Gandhi, who paid him twice, amounting to around NZ$150,000. was his captain at the Chandigarh Lions in India, in 2008, he said.

‘‘I was under direct orders from Chris Cairns to be involved in match-fixing in India,’’ was his opening shot in evidence.

Vincent also fixed matches in English county cricket, when no longer under the control of Cairns.

He was revealing all for the greater good, he told the court. ‘‘I accepted my mistakes and I hope what I’m doing will help other players get out of that evil world.’’

His testimony was punctuated by long pauses and he often had to ask for questions to be repeated.

He talked of how hard it was to escape the match-fixing web – once it snared you the calls kept coming. ‘‘That’s how they operate, they never stop . . . They always make you feel you didn’t do the job right, that you owe them.’’

Pownall pointed to how long it had taken Vincent to own up to match-fixing – about five years – as an indication ‘‘you were saving your own skin’’.

 ??  ?? Lou Vincent’s evidence is crucial to the case against Chris Cairns.
Lou Vincent’s evidence is crucial to the case against Chris Cairns.

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