8 Mar 2012

Tuffey defends Cairns in libel trial

10:29 am on 8 March 2012

New Zealand cricketer Daryl Tuffey has come to the defence of former teammate Chris Cairns, labelling him a man of integrity and honesty as he battles allegations of match fixing.

Former Test all-rounder Cairns, 41, is in the UK's High Court seeking substantial damages in a libel case against former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi.

Modi posted a comment on Twitter in January 2010 stating the Kiwi star was not eligible for IPL selection because of "his past record in match fixing".

Cairns denies the claims and said his sacking from an Indian Cricket League position in October 2008 was because he failed to declare an ongoing ankle injury.

Tuffey, 33, who has called Cairns a teammate in New Zealand and in the ICL where both men played for the Chandigarh Lions, submitted a statement which was read to the court on Wednesday.

"I had no reason to believe any of my teammates were involved in match fixing ... I refer to match fixing and also spot fixing," Tuffey wrote of his Lions colleagues.

The Auckland player said he was "completely shocked" to hear details of Modi's Twitter message about Cairns.

"I have no doubt as to Chris's honesty and integrity," his statement said.

Cairns' Australian wife Melanie also took to the stand on Wednesday, admitting she questioned her husband over the match fixing allegations.

"There was a time when I did ask him ... I'm completely ashamed and embarrassed that I had to ask, but I did ask him," she said.

He told her the rumours of corruption against him were untrue.

"When the world media is (reporting) ... accusing the man who you love of something, then yeah, of course I want to believe him and I do believe him."

Lawyers for Modi have claimed that two payments into Cairns' Dubai bank account at the time of the alleged fixing and totalling some £100,000 are pay-offs for his corrupt practices.

Cairns has said the money is legitimate income from his PR work for a diamond traders company.