Cairns: I am not 'Player X'

Andover Advertiser: Alastair Cook is worried about the effect spot-fixing has on the game Alastair Cook is worried about the effect spot-fixing has on the game

Chris Cairns has strongly denied he is the unnamed player mentioned in testimony to the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit by two of his New Zealand compatriots.

Evidence presented by Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum was revealed on Monday, following last week's revelations that former batsman Lou Vincent was being investigated by the ICC.

Spot-fixing's return to the headlines has left England captains Eoin Morgan and Alastair Cook voicing their respective anger and heart-felt concern that the issue continues to afflict their sport.

Ex-Kiwi all-rounder Cairns, meanwhile, has made clear in a statement released to Fairfax Media that he has nothing to hide.

"I am aware that former cricketer Lou Vincent and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum have made a range of allegations against a cricketer dubbed 'Player X'," the statement read.

"It is well-known that the ICC/ACSU 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'.

"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.

"I have never approached Brendon, or anyone else, about match fixing or any other improper activity."

England Test captain Cook, and stand-in Twenty20 leader Morgan, both stressed earlier on Monday how deeply they feel about the modern scourge of cricket every time it rears its head.

Spot-fixing did just that again when reports emerged that McCullum had provided the ICC with testimony of a historic attempt by the unnamed, high-profile player to lure him in with a £100,000-plus offer.

Morgan and Cook have never been targeted, but are frustrated nonetheless by the curse that will not go away.

On the eve of England's Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka at The Oval, Morgan found himself answering almost as many questions about spot-fixing as Tuesday evening's tussle with the world champions.

"It really does make me angry," said the Irishman.

"Everyone knows you have to say no to corruption.

"It is important for guys to come out and say 'this is unacceptable' - people have to be punished for it.

"We all love the game. We are trying to protect it, and it is important that we do."

Both Morgan and Cook played in the blighted Lord's Test of 2010, in which three Pakistanis were subsequently banned and convicted for their part in an attempted spot-fixing scam.

"That was a huge shock then to see it going on and hear what happened," added Morgan.

"If it doesn't hit home when guys go to jail, you have a problem."

Cook told the London Evening Standard continued vigilance was the only solution.

"You know the tell-tale signs," he said.

"But you can always do more, can't you, if it is still going on now? It is a worry.

"I've been involved already in a high-profile game which has been changed by (corrupt practices) and it cheapens the sport.

"It's frustrating because you know how much hard work you've done in cricket - and you trust that all the other professionals have done the same."

Spot-fixing has again been hogging the headlines since it was revealed last week McCullum's former Kiwi team-mate Vincent was part of an ongoing investigation.

"Clearly, there are more and more cases that seem to be coming up now," said Cook.

"People are there to watch the cricket and they need to know that what they are watching is genuine.

"They need to know the players are trying their hardest, not for any financial gain off the field.

"It makes you incredibly worried. I know from how I play the game, you're trying to protect the values, the traditions and history of the game - and play it in the right way.

"When you walk on to the field, you're doing it with the best intentions at heart and to try to win the game for your team.

"That's why you test yourself in sport.

"I've never been exposed to it personally and I don't know how deep it goes, but it's obviously a very serious situation.

"People have said it's the tip of the iceberg and, if that's the case and more and more comes out, it will damage the sport."

New Zealand Cricket, meanwhile, has reacted with "dismay" that McCullum's evidence to anti-corruption investigators has reached the public domain.

The Kiwi captain's employers have made it clear too he is in no way under suspicion of any wrong-doing.

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