LONDON – Former England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon has given his account of a meeting with an Indian businessman which led to an offer of £5 million ($8 million) to fix one of Leicestershire’s Twenty20 matches.
In an extract from his autobiography ‘Keeping Quiet’, published in the Mail Sunday, Nixon said he was offered the “absurd” amount of money in 2010 and also accepted a valuable gift from the businessman, named only as ‘K’, before he realized his true intent.
And in an echo of other cricket fixing scams, Nixon – who retired last year after Leicestershire won its third English domestic Twenty20 trophy – said ‘K’ had wormed his way into a position of friendship following a mutual interest in property.
“Over a period of months, always in London but in different hotels, K’s interest never faded – and a friendly, working rapport was established,” Nixon wrote.
“It was that October, while driving with my wife, Jen, to London, the first surprise was sprung.
“K called my mobile and declared he had an “anniversary gift” to give us. ‘Don’t be daft, you don’t need to do that,’ I replied. ‘Please, I insist. I am in India, but my brother has it. He will give you a call.”’
The gift was a set of champagne flutes. But it was only later, prior to a meeting at a Leicester hotel in May 2010, that Nixon realized K’s purpose.
“A lot of people have made a lot of money in India,” Nixon was told. “And you could make a lot of money in England also.”
K identified a televized match against Durham.
“He made it plain that if I could help things go a certain way in that game, I could make myself very wealthy,” Nixon wrote.
Nixon kept listening but, he insisted, only to learn more, and not to take ‘K’ up on his offer.
“I thought: what am I doing here? I want out of this hotel. This isn’t for me. But I stayed. I wanted to know more. Who, exactly, was K? What were his connections? I was shocked by his offer but addicted to its detail.”
Nixon reported the incident to his county coach Tim Boon, the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption and security unit and the Professional Cricketers’ Association – but not before he had given an equivocal answer to K about whether he was prepared to speak to his Leicestershire team-mates about the possibility of fixing the match.
“I knew with 100 per cent certainty I wasn’t going to accept the offer, but kept bouncing the possibilities around in my head during the drive home,” Nixon added.
It was not until two weeks before the match, which out-of-form Leicestershire lost, that Nixon, who played 19 one-day internationals for England, told K he would not be taking up his offer, at which point his contact with the businessman ceased. — AP