McCullum urges ICC’s anti-corruption unit to be ‘more professional’

London : Accusing the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-corruption unit of being casual, former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has urged the world body to handle reports on fixing “more professionally”.

McCullum, who had submitted evidence of match-fixing against teammate Chris Cairns last year, said the first interview he gave to an ICC official was casual.

“(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,” McCullum was quoted as saying by espncricinfo during his MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture here on Monday.

“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.

“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. I do wish that the ICC had handled my initial approach more professionally,” he added.

After a nine-week trial in November 2015, Cairns was cleared of charges, but he alleged that his image was tarnished, even though he was cleared off the case

Drawing comparison with the Metropolitan Police, to whom he gave another statement, McCullum said they were way ahead professionally than the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

“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,” he said.

The right-handed keeper-batsman also hit out at the ICC after his evidence was leaked to the media, saying such acts not only hamper the confidence the players have on the board but will also make them hesitate to report.

“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.

“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,” he said.

“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?

“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,” he added.