New Zealand's Chris Cairns denies match-fixing allegations
Former Black Cap says claims that he is the 'Player X' kingpin behind graft in cricket is a lie
New Zealand great Chris Cairns on Tuesday denied match-fixing after media reports named him as "Player X" - the alleged kingpin of a corruption ring under investigation by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum and former batsman Lou Vincent have both told ICC investigators that Player X approached them to fix matches, according to leaked testimony from the pair, which did not identify the mystery recruiter.
Cairns issued a statement acknowledging his name was being linked to Player X, but said he had no involvement in corruption or match-fixing.
"It is well known that the ICC/ACSU [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit] has been investigating allegations of corruption and my name has been linked by others to these allegations. I am being asked whether I am Player X," he said.
"Based on the limited information I have received during this investigation, I believe it is being alleged that I am that player. These allegations against me are a complete lie."
Cairns later clarified on Twitter: "I have not denied I am Player X ... but I reject the allegations against me ... Subtle I know, but rather pertinent."
TheNew Zealand Herald reported that "multiple sources" confirmed Cairns was Player X.
McCullum testified that he rejected Player X's overtures in 2008, while Vincent has reportedly agreed to provide evidence about his part in a match-fixing plot in a bid to avoid prosecution.
Vincent - who was briefly Hong Kong batting coach - described Player X in his testimony as "a world-famous international", while McCullum said that he was "a hero who became a friend" and had offered him up to US$180,000 a match to underperform.
Cairns has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and challenged the ICC to produce its evidence, so he can respond, accusing the game's governing body of orchestrating media leaks to smear his reputation.
"I believe there are dark forces at play. These forces have long arms, deep pockets and great influence," his statement said.
"I acknowledge that recently I have upset some powerful people in the world of cricket, including raising my own concerns about the state of the game. I believe I am playing the price for that now."
New Zealand Cricket has clarified that McCullum is not under investigation for match-fixing, while also expressing dismay that his testimony was made public and calling on the ICC to investigate how it was leaked to the media.
The match-fixing allegations involving Vincent allegedly occurred from 2008-2012 in at least five countries - including at the Hong Kong Sixes.