At a time when Chris Cairns is suing Lalit Modi for defamation over a 2010 tweet that implicated the Kiwi cricketer in match-fixing in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), former coach of Cairns' ICL team, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, has told NDTV in an exclusive interview that he suspects Cairns may have been involved in fixing.
"I suspect he must have been involved," said Sandhu on being asked whether Cairns, the captain of his ICL team Chandigarh Lions, fixed matches.
"He (Cairns) tried to twist my arm. He tried to bully me to toe his line but he couldn't get control of me. When he failed in all these aspects he complained to ICL management and we had a meeting and during that meeting he was accusing me of certain things that I am dividing the team, which was untrue," said Sandhu.
This is the first time that anyone associated with the ICL has spoken out about fixing in the now defunct tournament.
"The first final we played, we were to bat first and he wanted to field first and we lost the game by 12 runs. And later on there were games - where we should have won those games but we lost those games. I am glad there are 3 players who have come out in the open and who were s*** scared of him back when he was the captain and today they had the guts to come out in the open and accuse him of match fixing so I got to believe these 3 cricketers," Sandhu added.
The former Indian cricketer said that it was after allegations of fixing against Cairns came out in the open that he realised why the all-rounder was against him.
"When all these allegations came out in the open, then I realised what he has done and why he was against me during that time. He himself bowled overs where he gave away too many runs. Sometimes he batted very slow. After all these allegations there is a big question mark against his name," Sandhu said.
Sandhu also revealed that he himself was approached by a bookie to fix matches.
"I was called by someone who told me he was a bookie. He offered me some money. He offered me 1.5 crores. I said please don't call me again. And I said if I get a call again from you I am going to inform my brother-in-law who is an SSP in Punjab police. I never got a call. This happened in Chandigarh."
Cairns is fighting a libel case against Lalit Modi, the former commissioner of the IPL, at the High Court in London. Cairns denies the reason for his dismissal from the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008 was in link to alleged corruption, maintaining that failing to disclose an ankle injury was behind his suspension.
Watch: Sandhu says he suspects Cairns of match-fixing