'Devastated' Cairns eyes legal action

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The Independent Online

A "devastated" former New Zealand cricket allrounder Chris Cairns is exploring legal action after widely reported comments explaining his removal from the Indian Premier League's (IPL) player auction list.

Cairns' London-based legal representative Andrew Fitch-Holland hit out today at media reports quoting IPL boss Lalit Modi as to the reasons behind Cairns' sudden removal from the auction list of 97 players.

A report on leading cricket website Cricinfo was removed, and Fitch-Holland said he would be seeking apologies and retractions after Modi's "defamatory remarks" were quoted elsewhere.

"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 in a statement.

Fitch-Holland added Cairns, 39, was never the subject of any investigation or finding of misconduct during his short stint in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL).

The IPL themselves had instigated discussions with Cairns regarding his availability for their forthcoming tournament, Fitch-Holland said.

"Mr Modi's comments and the subsequent publication of them by others have had an immediate and highly damaging effect on Chris' reputation and indeed on his future within the game," the statement said.

The statement didn't explain why Cairns' name had been removed from the auction list as he sought to revive his career in the lucrative IPL.

Cairns was suspended from the rival 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 Cricinfo that claimed Cairns had been suspended for arriving in India with an undeclared ankle injury, which violated his contract. "That is the position," the lawyer said.

Cairns played the last of his 62 tests against England in 2004. He also played 215 one-day internationals, and played his final match for New Zealand in the Twenty20 format against the West Indies in 2006.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Justin Vaughan said this week he was shocked to see Cairns' name on the auction list.

"Individual players can nominate themselves through their agents and I think that is what might have happened. This is a situation where we have no relationship with Chris Cairns. He certainly is not domiciled in New Zealand, so effectively he is free to do what he wants," Vaughan told The Dominion Post.

The agents of eight New Zealand players have put their clients forward for the auction: Shane Bond, Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott, Ian Butler, Brendon Diamanti, Nathan McCullum, Daryl Tuffey and Lou Vincent.

Other New Zealand players already signed with the IPL are Daniel Vettori, Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder and Kyle Mills.

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald