7 Mar 2012

Cairns libel action begins in London

11:03 am on 7 March 2012

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns has begun a High Court action in Britain for libel damages over an accusation on Twitter that he was involved in match-fixing.

Cairns is suing Lalit Modi, former commissioner of the Indian Premier League - the Twenty20 franchise in India.

Cairns' lawyer Andrew Caldecott QC, told the court the allegation was "wholly untrue" and a very grave libel which would, if uncorrected, destroy all Mr Cairns had achieved in the game, the BBC reports.

"Preserving the integrity of any sport depends as much on vindicating the falsely accused as it does on convicting the guilty, " he said.

Modi has insisted his claim that the all-rounder had been involved in fixing the results of one day games in India was justified.

The tweet, written in January 2010, was picked up by the cricket website Cricinfo. It withdrew the article and issued an apology when Cairns complained.

Cairns had a distinguished international career, notching up a rare achievement of taking 200 wickets and scoring 3000 runs in Test matches.

The case is being heard by Mr Justice Bean without a jury and expected to last for two weeks.