Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former New Zealand pace bowler Iain O’Brien has announced that cricketers need to report being approached by illegal bookies immediately instead of waiting for months or years before working up the courage to do so.
O’Brien’s comments come after it was leaked that current New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was approached during the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and during New Zealand’s tour of England the very same year.
“It’s taken a long time, we’re talking about an approach way back in 2008, that’s a long time ago, we haven’t had any resolution since then,” O’Brien told ESPNcricinfo. “As cricketers we are kind of dealing with an organisation that hasn’t done enough…maybe leaking it [McCullum’s testimony] is the way to get things moving forward.”
O’Brien also revealed that he confronted former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent and told him to come clean about all the approaches and dealings he had had with illegal bookies.
Vincent reportedly told the International Cricket Council (ICC) that he knew of 12 county matches that had been fixed and of numerous players involved in match-fixing.
“I wanted to know, I wanted to find out because we all knew, and this is the thing, there was nothing we could do at that time, ICL – outside of any jurisdiction, so there is no one to report what we see and I wanted to find out from him what he had been up to,” O’Brien said. “I wanted to find out because I wanted him to come forward, I wanted him to own up, and then the people that corrupted him, I wanted him to take them down, out of the game and out of the system.”
O’Brien also wants to see more action being taken when players talk about being approached or matches being fixed.
“We need to talk about it, we need to realise how entrenched and how shadowy that this all is, and if we don’t discuss it, we don’t try and push things forward then it just keeps ticking over in the background, until we actually confront this and confront it properly, there’s always going to be rumours and speculation, let’s have it all out in the open,” he said.
Even though he spoke to Vincent in 2012, O’Brien stated that he could not reveal much more about their conversation.
“Without proof you are just a libel case away from being in a very bad place, we know that, we can’t talk about those things, and it is the hardest thing to prove,” he said. “The corruption unit is basically there to report advances to by players, and it is also there for players to come to when they know things are going on … it is not there for us to dial in and speculate from the outside, from the couch if you like, it is for players on the inside to report.”