Lewis keen to finish public feud with ECB

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The Independent Online

Chris Lewis has called a halt to his war of words with the England and Wales Cricket Board over their differing accounts of their roles in the match-fixing scandal.

The two parties have been at loggerheads ever since Lewis gave a forthright radio interview last week in which he claimed his name "was dirt" and accused the ECB of covering up after he informed them that a sports promoter, Ashim Kheterpal, had told him that three England players were implicated in matchfixing.

Lewis also alleged that the Board had leaked a story last August in which it was claimed that a businessman had approached him to act as an intermediary to the England team in an attempt to throw a Test during last summer's series against New Zealand.

The ECB has denied the charges, with its chairman, Lord MacLaurin, sending a critical letter to the 18 first-class counties on Thursday - only for Gareth James, Lewis' agent, to demand the Board make public notes of crucial meetings between the parties.

James disagreed with ECB claims that Lewis refused to identify the three players and believes the notes taken by the international teams director, Simon Pack, would prove his client had acted with integrity throughout the shabby affair. MacLaurin, though, has blocked the request for the notes, prompting fears the public squabble would continue.

MacLaurin sprung to the defence of Pack, saying: "I think those notes are private property of the ECB. I am very happy to go along with Simon Pack's notes. He's a very distinguished army officer."

"He dealt with the thing absolutely properly. I think it is our business, we are dealing with it and there is an ongoing police inquiry. I don't have to prove my case, I'm very satisfied and the management board are very satisfied that the notes taken by Simon Pack are absolutely correct."

But, after hearing MacLaurin's response yesterday, Lewis agreed to end the verbal jousting, claiming: "I told the truth and whether people choose to believe me that is up to them. I'm extremely comfortable with what I have done, but it seems as though people want to play politics. I've said my piece and told the authorities exactly what happened at the time.

"Really, there is nothing more to add now other than get into name calling and I do not see the worth in that. I've made no attempt to digest the ECB statement because if I did it would make me sick. It is all the stuff of five-year-olds - but I never expected anything else.

"The establishment was always going to look after itself. As far as I am concerned I told the truth. In years to come I will laugh about this and it will make a good chapter in my book - but in reality the last 14 days have been anything but a laugh.

"Other people might think twice about going to them [ECB] in the future. I don't know if I can take it any further. As far as the Board are concerned it might have been better if I had been shot at birth because they have never liked me. I'm just a humble Willesden High School lad and you know where they come from. It is Willesden High School versus the old school."

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