McCullum blasts ICC’s ACSU

New Zealand

Speaking at the MCC's Spirit of Cricket lecture former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has torn into the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU).

The former Blackcaps skipper gave evidence to the ACSU against his former teammate and idol, Chris Cairns. McCullum described the first interview with the ICC's anti-corruption body as casual.

McCullum had this to say about the official: "[He] took notes – he did not record our conversation. He said he would get what I said down on paper and that it would probably end up at the bottom of the file with nothing eventuating."

"Looking back on this, I am very surprised by what I perceive to be a very casual approach to gathering evidence."

"I was reporting two approaches by a former international star of the game. I was not asked to elaborate on anything I said and I signed a statement that was essentially nothing more than a skeleton outline."

After information from the investigation was leaked to the press McCullum was questioned by the Metropolitan Police, with McCullum claiming their level of professionalism was far superior to that of the ACSU: "Suffice to say, they were streets ahead in terms of professionalism."

"They asked me so many questions, testing my memory, and took a much more comprehensive brief."

The former wicket-keeper feels the ICC let him down in their handling of his testimony: "I don't think either of us could ever have foreseen that my first statement would be used in a perjury trial in London four years after it was made."

"The point I wish to make is that it must have been feasible that I would have to give evidence somewhere, sometime."

"I think players deserve better from the ICC and that, in the future, the evidence gathering exercise has to be much more thorough, more professional."

The Kiwi legend feels he was not properly advised about what would happen to his testimony: "In my opinion a person taking a statement should ensure that the witness is advised about what may occur – that if evidence were to be given in the future and the witness did not put everything in that initial statement or changed what they said in any way, then this would likely impact on their credibility."

"When I made my first statement to the ICC, my impression was that it would be put in the bottom draw and never see the light of day again. No attempt was made to elicit a full and comprehensive statement from me on that occasion."

McCullum is disappointed that the evidence he gave was handled improperly and his accusations not taken seriously: "I do wish that the ICC had handled my initial approach more professionally."

Perhaps most troubling to McCullum was that his testimony was leaked to the press: "No witness who has provided evidence to the ICC should ever have to go through such a scenario again."

"The leak has never been explained to me; to my knowledge no one has been held accountable and, in those circumstances, it is difficult to have confidence in the ICC."

The widely respected McCullum believes the ICC should do more to encourage players to come forward, including protecting those who give evidence, and handling that evidence professionally: "To report an approach and to give evidence requires considerable courage – players deserve much better."

"How can the game's governing body expect players to co-operate with it when it is then responsible for leaking confidential statements to the media?"

The recently retired McCullum, called on the ICC to do better in order to root out match-fixing: "It goes without saying that if players do not have confidence in the organisation, they will be reluctant to report approaches and the game is worse off."

"If we are to get rid of the scourge of match-fixing, a robust governing body is essential."

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