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    Cairns accuses Indian players of fixing

    London: Former New Zealand allrounder Chris Cairns claimed the involvement of two Indian cricketers in match-fixing in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) during a trial in a London Court on Monday.

    Cairns named TP Singh and Dinesh Mongia during the trial of a case in which he is suing former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi for calling him a 'fixer'.

    Both Singh and Mongia played for the Chandigarh Lions in the ICL, along with Cairns. A member of Punjab's Ranji Trophy team, Mongia also represented the national team in 57 ODIs.

    The 41-year-old is suing Modi, the former chairman of the Twenty20 franchise, for substantial libel damages over an "unequivocal allegation" made on Twitter.

    Modi, who attended Monday's trial, had tweeted in 2010, "Cairns removed from IPL auction list due to his past record in match fixing. This was done by Governing council."

    The former New Zealand captain told the High Court that the accusation of match-fixing had reduced his career to "dust" and strained his marriage.

    His lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, told judge David Bean, who is hearing the case without a jury, that Modi's tweet sent in January 2010 was picked up by a cricket website. Cairns complained to the website and it withdrew the report, paid damages and apologised.

    However Modi declined to apologise and pleaded justification, maintaining that the charge was true. Cairns alleges that the allegation was "wholly untrue" and a very grave libel.

    He said that if it was left uncorrected, it would destroy all he had achieved over a 20-year career, in which he notched up the rare double of 200 wickets and 3,000 runs in 62 Tests.

    In evidence, he said: "The defendant's allegations have also had a profound effect on my personal and private life. It put a strain on my marriage. It hurts that my wife may think that I am not the man she thought I was."

    "It hurts me too that friends, many of whom are former cricketing foes, will question my integrity as a man and a sportsman and that all I achieved in the great game of cricket is dust."

    Caldecott said the all-rounder, who lived in England as a child when his father Lance played here and had himself played seven seasons for Nottinghamshire, was extremely concerned about his reputation in Britain.

    At the time of the tweet, Modi was one of the most powerful men in cricket and any statement of his was likely to be taken seriously, the court was told.

    Lawyers said that, in 2007 and 2008, Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions in three competitions in the ICL, which flourished briefly before the ascendancy of the IPL.

    The allegation made by Modi related to the second and third of these competitions, between March and April 2008 and October and November that year.

    Meanwhile, six Indian cricketers also accused Cairns of fixing matches. TP Singh, Love Ablish, Gaurav Gupta, Amit Uniyal, Karanveer Singh and Rajesh Sharma all accused Cairns of fixing.

    While Ablish and Uniyal claimed Cairns had told them to bowl deliberate no-balls, Gupta said he was told to score less than five runs. TP Singh was also told to fix matches via Mongia.

    Cairns denied all allegations, saying they were false and inconsistent.

    Modi also accused Mongia, Cairns' team-mate and vice-captain of the Lions, of being a co-conspirator in match-fixing. Mongia "may or may not be corrupt - a number of Indian players allege he was", the court heard.

    The court also heard that the 'worm of corruption' entered the Lions in 2007 through two Indian players - Sharma and TP Singh - who knew a corrupt bookmaker Robin Talwar.