Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and umpire Steve Davis are among those who have been called to give evidence at the London trial of Chris Cairns, who is facing charges of lying in court about his involvement in match-fixing.
Ponting was a surprise addition on Wednesday to the list of witnesses set to be called, although there is no suggestion he was directly involved in any way. Rather, there are suggestions he may have overheard a telephone conversation where an approach about an alleged fix could have been made.
Ponting is said to have taken legal advice. His manager James Henderson declined to comment on Wednesday.
The Australian great is among about 50 witnesses who have been called to give evidence. This includes current and former New Zealand captains, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori, and fast bowler Shane Bond, while an ICC official and a doctor will also give evidence. Some witnesses are expected to appear via video link.
Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chairman of the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit, is also expected to take to the stand.
Cairns, the former New Zealand allrounder, and his barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, appeared in the dock at Southwark crown court this week.
Cairns, 45, is facing charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice during a libel trial three years ago against former Indian Premier League supremo, Lalit Modi. He denies the charges.
Modi took to Twitter this week to say it is
“going to be an interesting trial.”
He had accused Cairns of match-fixing on Twitter in 2010 but Cairns, who captained the Chandigarh Lions in the rebel Indian Cricket League in 2007 and 2008, won more than $150,000 damages and legal costs against him during a British court case in 2012. It was the first libel case in London based on a tweet.
However, it has been claimed that Cairns misled the courts during that case.
He has been accused of perjury between October 1, 2010, and March 31, 2012, in that he "wilfully made a statement material in that proceeding which he knew to be false, namely that he had never, ever cheated at cricket and nor would he ever contemplate such a thing".
Cairns had been sacked after three games of the 2008 ICL tournament, about the time the fixing accusations first emerged.
McCullum has previously accused Cairns of asking him to fix matches in the ICL, a claim which Cairns has rejected.
Fitch-Holland is facing a charge of perverting the course of justice, a claim he denies. This relates to an alleged Skype conversation with Lou Vincent, Cairns' former teammate. The prosecution has alleged Vincent was told to provide a false witness statement in the 2012 trial.
Vincent was found guilty of corruption charges last year and has been banned for life.
If Cairns is found guilty of lying about his involvement with illegal bookmakers, he could be sent to jail for seven years and face criminal charges for match-fixing.
The case is expected to last until mid-November.
Source : SMH