NZ skipper McCullum stands by Cairns evidence
Dunedin, December 9
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum broke his silence on Wednesday on the not guilty verdict in the Chris Cairns perjury trial, saying he stood by testimony he gave against his former teammate.
Cairns, who was last month cleared of match-fixing related perjury charges, has demanded McCullum explain why he chose to appear as a prosecution witness. Speaking for the first time since the verdict 10 days ago, McCullum said he was “very comfortable” with the evidence he gave and it was time to move on.
“For me, it wasn’t about whether someone was guilty or not guilty. My role was to go and give the evidence in the trial and I remained pretty unemotional about it, to be honest,” he said in Dunedin as he prepared to lead New Zealand into a Test series against Sri Lanka. “I don’t think my reputation has been on the line during the whole thing. I was one of a number of witnesses who gave evidence.”
While journalists wanted answers about the Cairns trial, McCullum wanted to talk about the first Test against Sri Lanka starting on Thursday. “People have their own opinions on what unfolded but I am comfortable with it and it’s time to focus on a bit of cricket now,” he said, adding that he would not be responding to Cairns’ “please explain” demand. In his evidence, McCullum said Cairns had approached him with a “business proposition” about match-fixing. But Cairns told the court the discussion in 2008 related to spread-betting and it was “completely wrong” to suggest spread-betting was equivalent to match-fixing.
Cairns, meanwhile, faces the prospect of a further court hearing with former Indian cricket administrator Lalit Modi considering a fraud charge against the former allrounder. But McCullum was non-committal about whether he would testify against Cairns again. “It’s speculation. Again this is not the forum to be discussing that sort of thing. We’ll see what happens down the line.”
McCullum suffered a form slump in Kiwis’ recent Test series against Australia but said that could not be attributed to the distraction of Cairns trial. “It’s certainly no excuse for any rough performances or the fact maybe I didn’t get as many runs as I’d like. That’s the game we play sometimes and I’m very much looking forward to the Sri Lankan Tests,” he said.
Whoever wins the toss is expected to bowl on a favourable wicket in the first Test and McCullum said the most pressing issue he faced was who would be New Zealand’s 12th man.