Cairns sues for libel damages

2012-03-05 18:49

London - Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns told the High Court in London on Monday that an accusation of match-fixing had reduced his career to "dust" and strained his marriage.

Cairns, 41, is suing Lalit Modi, the former chairman of Twenty20 franchise the Indian Premier League (IPL), for substantial libel damages over an "unequivocal allegation" made on Twitter.

His lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, told judge David Bean, who is hearing the case without a jury, that Modi's tweet sent in January 2010 was picked up by cricket website Cricinfo.

Cairns complained to Cricinfo and the website withdrew the report, paid damages and apologised.

However Modi declined to apologise and pleaded justification, maintaining that the charge was true.

Cairns alleges that the allegation was "wholly untrue" and a very grave libel.

He said that if it was left uncorrected, it would destroy all he had achieved over a 20-year career, in which he notched up the rare double of 200 wickets and 3 000 runs in 62 Tests.

In evidence, he said: "The defendant's allegations have also had a profound effect on my personal and private life. It put a strain on my marriage. It hurts that my wife may think that I am not the man she thought I was.

"It hurts me too that friends, many of whom are former cricketing foes, will question my integrity as a man and a sportsman and that all I achieved in the great game of cricket is dust."

Caldecott said the all-rounder, who lived in England as a child when his father Lance played here and had himself played seven seasons for Nottinghamshire, was extremely concerned about his reputation in Britain.

At the time of the tweet, Modi was one of the most powerful men in cricket and any statement of his was likely to be taken seriously, the court was told.

Lawyers said that, in 2007 and 2008, Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions in three competitions in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), which flourished briefly before the ascendancy of the IPL.

The allegation made by Modi related to the second and third of these competitions, between March and April 2008 and October and November that year.