WELLINGTON - Disgraced former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent on Tuesday was banned for life from cricket for match-fixing, admitting he was a cheat who had shamed the sport and his country.
"My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat. I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing," he said in a statement. The punishment, which was confirmed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, stems from one-day matches that Vincent admitted he helped rig in English county cricket.
His former Sussex team mate, Naveed Arif, was also banned for life last month after admitting similar corruption offences. The ECB said in a statement that Vincent pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of its anti-corruption regulations. Four charges related to a Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Durham in June 2008. The remaining 14 concerned two fixtures played in August 2011 -- a Sussex v Lancashire Twenty20 and a Sussex v Kent CB40 match. "We are extremely pleased that the matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that an individual who repeatedly sought to involve others in corrupt activity for his own personal gain has accepted that his conduct warrants a lifetime ban from cricket," said ECB chief David Collier.
International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson welcomed the ban by saying: "The ICC has a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and these life bans, together with the life ban recently imposed by the ECB on Naveed Arif, should send out a loud and clear message to all those who indulge in corrupt practices and think they can get away with it." Vincent, 35, has given additional evidence to ICC anti-corruption investigators about his involvement in fixing in five countries between 2008 and 2012.
Among his allegations were that a "world-famous international" dubbed "Player X" recruited him into the murky world of match-rigging. New Zealand legend Chris Cairns has said he believes he is Player X but questioned Vincent's credibility and vehemently denied any involvement.
Vincent's statement about his ban made no reference to Cairns or any other player. Instead, he said he had shamed his homeland and the game, prompting him to come clean to try to ease his conscience. "Speaking out. Exposing the truth. Laying bare the things I have done wrong is the only way I can find to begin to put things right," he said. "The time has come for me to now face them like a man and accept the consequences."
Vincent played in 23 Tests and 102 one-dayers for New Zealand before retiring from international cricket in 2007. After that, he travelled the globe playing in numerous domestic leagues before retiring early last year. He has previously spoken publicly about his battles with depression and the loneliness of being on the road but said in his statement that he did not want to use his mental condition as an excuse. "The people who know me know I am vulnerable," he said. "But they also know I am not stupid and that I know what is right and what is wrong."
Vincent, who testified to the ICC that he was offered bribes of money and sex, said he wanted his fate to be a warning to young players not to repeat his mistakes. "It is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing," he said. "To do the right thing for themselves, for their families and friends, and for the sport they love."
While Vincent's ban appears to draw the ECB's investigation to a close, the ICC is yet to release the results of its anti-corruption probe. The ICC investigation, which was first revealed in December, focuses on Vincent, Cairns and another New Zealander, Daryl Tuffey, who has also denied any wrongdoing.