Daniel Vettori, the former New Zealand captain, has told Southwark Crown Court how he had been “shocked and angry” upon learning that his “mentor” Chris Cairns had attempted to recruit their fellow team-mate, Brendon McCullum, into his alleged spot-fixing operation.
Addressing the court in London via videolink, Vettori claimed that McCullum had mentioned Cairns’ approach to him and another team-mate, Kyle Mills, during a New Zealand tour of Bangladesh in 2010, although he later admitted he could not be sure of the precise year.
“Brendon said Chris Cairns had asked him to spot-fix on two occasions,” Vettori told the court, adding that the news had surprised him.
Vettori did not, however, encourage McCullum to report Cairns to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit until a briefing in 2011, after which he attended McCullum’s meeting with the Australasian head of the ACSU, John Rhodes, but did not play an active part in the interview.
Addressing his own relationship with Cairns, Vettori explained that they had been team-mates since his own New Zealand debut as a teenager in 1997, and that he had helped him a lot in his early years.
“Chris was one of my best friends in cricket, he was a mentor to me,” Vettori said. “To feel Brendon was put in that situation … I was stunned.”
Asked why he had not reported the incident to the authorities himself instead of waiting for McCullum to speak out in 2011, Vettori said that didn’t think he had to because he wasn’t the target of the alleged approach.
Vettori also related an incident that he played down as “innocuous” in the wake of the 2006 Champions Trophy in India, in which he had asked Cairns to buy him a US$15,000 diamond ring as he was planning on getting engaged.
The money, Vettori explained to the court, had been owed to him for a toothpaste promotion that he and Cairns had done in India, but the jewel never arrived, and in 2008 Vettori was repaid in cash, £9000 in £20 notes on New Zealand’s tour of England.
“It was a fairly innocuous situation,” Vettori said, although it was an incident that he nevertheless reported to the ASCU in the wake of McCullum’s statement about Cairns. He felt “it would be prudent” to do so, even though he had had no concerns about the situation in 2006.
“I didn’t receive the diamond,” Vettori added. “Chris returned the money about two years later.”
Vettori was also asked about the rumours that had swirled around the former New Zealand fast bowler, Daryl Tuffey, who was implicated earlier in the trial as one of Cairns’ accomplices alongside Lou Vincent, who has previously confessed his role as a match-fixer.
Vettori confirmed that rumours had been “coming back” to New Zealand about the three players, although he was asked by Orlando Pownall, QC, Cairns’ defence lawyer, why it was that the New Zealand selectors had continued to pick Tuffey up until the 2010-11 season.
“We couldn’t not select him on the basis of rumours,” Vettori told the court.
Tuffey’s name, Vettori added, had been mentioned in an un-minuted meeting of New Zealand’s then-selectors, Vettori, Andy Moles, Glenn Turner and Mark Greatbatch.
When asked by Pownall whether his memory was correct, Vettori stated he was sure. “I didn’t make a mistake about that,” he said.
Cairns denies two counts of perjury and perverting the course of justice, relating to his successful libel action against Lalit Modi in 2012. The trial continues.
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.