ECB letter has Lewis consulting lawyers

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The Independent Online

Chris Lewis is contemplating legal action after the England and Wales Cricket Board dismissed his claim that it failed to investigate match-fixing allegations as "unbelievable".

In a robust and detailed response to accusations made by the England player both in and subsequent to a Sunday newspaper article published earlier this month, the ECB chairman, Lord MacLaurin, last night denied all of the Leicestershire all-rounder's claims.

But a spokesman for the player countered by accusing the ECB of a "complete reinvention of events" and said that the the player would now be consulting his solicitor, observing that the affair "is not over."

MacLaurin's comments came in a 920-word letter sent to all county chairmen. The letter insists an investigation in conjunction with the CID found no evidence against England players "past or present" of involvement in match-rigging and vigorously defends the ECB's handling of Lewis's claims.

Lewis has accused the ECB of failing to act when he passed information to it in August and now says that the ECB did not want to know the identity of the unnamed trio because of the hearsay nature of the allegations.

MacLaurin's version paints a different picture. "To suggest that the Board did not seek to establish immediately from Chris Lewis the names of the England players allegedly involved... is unbelievable," he claims. He describes Lewis's "nervousness and reluctance to divulge any names" in a meeting with officials on 3 August. Hopes that he would reveal the names in due course "did not materialise."

MacLaurin adds that, far from doing nothing about the allegations, as Lewis has suggested, the Board reported the matter to the police on 18 August and to the International Cricket Council two days later.

Lewis has subsequently accused the ECB of leaking the original tabloid newspaper story, denying that it came from him. MacLaurin dismissed that claim as "unrealistic and untrue."