Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I've been made a pariah - Cairns

SYDNEY - Chris Cairns' lawyer has called on the International Cricket Council to censure Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi over "defamatory" comments which he claims have jeopardised Cairns' future earnings.

The Dubai-based former New Zealand allrounder is exploring legal action against Modi and several overseas media outlets for the comments explaining his removal from the list of 97 players registered for the IPL auction on January 19.

Cairns' lawyer, Andrew Fitch-Holland, said his client had recently been offered high-profile coaching roles, and any potential coaching or media career was now in serious doubt.

"Chris believes he has no future in any form of the game. He feels he's been made a pariah," Fitch-Holland said from London.

"He said to me today 'that's me finished in cricket for the next 30 years'. He's devastated. He's angry.

"If the ICC are running cricket then surely they must have some degree of control over this sort of behaviour."

After long discussions with Cairns, Fitch-Holland had engaged libel lawyers to explore what action they would take.

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Modi's comments related to Cairns' short stint in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League, which was unsanctioned and in competition with the IPL.

Cairns, 39, was suspended from the ICL in October 2008 on what was described as "disciplinary grounds" after captaining the Chandigarh Lions in three matches.

His then teammate and former Indian international, Dinesh Mongia, was also suspended.

At the time, Fitch-Holland said he agreed with a report on leading cricket website Cricinfo that claimed Cairns had been suspended for arriving in India with an undeclared ankle injury, which violated his contract.

He added that Cairns was never the subject of any investigation or finding of misconduct during his time with the ICL.

Fitch-Holland said Cairns hadn't chased a spot in the IPL but was approached by IPL chief executive Sundar Raman late last year to make himself available. Cairns was yet to receive official word as to why he was suddenly excluded.

After Modi's comments, Fitch-Holland sent a letter to ICC general manager of cricket Dave Richardson seeking action and also sought backing from international players' association boss Tim May.

"This concerns all cricketers; their reputations can be permanently damaged by such comments.

"The IPL have chosen a very public way to humiliate a player who did not seek out a spot in their tournament."

Fitch-Holland contacted Cricinfo, which immediately removed the story containing Modi's quotes.

But as the comments had been reported by other media outlets, he feared the damage to Cairns' reputation had already been done.

"Chris is appalled at the reckless way in which unsubstantiated gossip has been put into the media by a person holding such a position as Mr Modi," Fitch-Holland said.

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