Ponting: Cairns called McCullum for 'business proposal'

Ricky Ponting (AAP)
Ricky Ponting (AAP)

Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has given evidence via video link at Chris Cairns' perjury trial, backing up earlier claims made by Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum.

Other witnesses overnight included a prominent sports agent, a cricket boss, a friend of Lou Vincent's and an anti-corruption investigator.

"I was sitting with Brendon in our team hotel in Kolkata in 2008 sharing a drink when he received a phone call," said Ponting. "It was very brief, probably five minutes. When he hung up he said, 'That was Cairnsy. He just made me a business proposal.'"

Ponting says he didn't ask any more questions but is 100 percent sure of his recollection. But he agreed when Cairns' lawyer described that recollection as "wholly unremarkable".

Much has been made by the defence of McCullum's two-and-a-half-year delay reporting Cairns.

Ponting was asked: "Had Cairns approached you to fix matches, you would have gone straight to the authorities, wouldn't you?"

Ponting replied: "Yes."

Players can be suspended from cricket for up to five years for failing to report corruption. New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White was asked by Cairns' lawyers if there was any truth that he and others colluded to ensure last year's World Cup would carry on without McCullum being suspended, the trade-off being the scalp of Cairns.

White insisted that was "absolutely incorrect".

McCullum was a big part of Leanne McGoldrick's evidence too. The sporting agent used to be Cairns' manager and Vincent's.

McGoldrick says McCullum told her about Cairns asking him if he knew how to spot fix, saying it was easy to manipulate a result.

Phill Hayes also gave evidence about being told Cairns was a match-fixer during a confession from his friend Vincent.

The last witness was anti-corruption investigator John Rhodes, whose evidence rolls into tomorrow.

With so much at stake the trial is obviously a very serious business. But there are moments of light relief.

The judge stopped everything when a phone went off, warning those present to make sure it didn't happen again.

Then, when minutes later another phone went off, the court's collective intake of breath turned to collective laughter, with the judge confessing "it's actually me" before assuring the court he had admonished himself severely.

Even though Cairns got a chuckle out of that too, his evening routine soon followed, with the next morning drudge just around the corner.

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