Former coach calls for Black Cap Lou Vincent's life ban from cricket to be rescinded

2 months ago 9

Former Black Cap Lou Vincent remains banned for life from all officially sanctioned cricket (file photo).

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Former Black Cap Lou Vincent remains banned for life from all officially sanctioned cricket (file photo).

Former coaches and team-mates are rallying around disgraced New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent, with the hope that his life ban will soon be rescinded.

Vincent was handed a life ban in 2014 by the England and Wales Cricket Board after he admitted breaching the ECB's anti-corruption regulations.

Shortly before the organisation announced the batter had committed 11 offences punishable by a life ban, Vincent released a statement labelling himself as a cheat.

“I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money in fixing,” Vincent wrote.

“I have lived with this dark secret for so many years, but months ago I reached the point where I decided I had to come forward and tell the truth.”

In leaked testimony to an ICC investigation, Vincent admitted receiving money to throw a one-day match in England in 2011.

The ECB banned Vincent from “all forms of cricket” and prevented him from “playing, coaching or participating in any form of cricket which is recognised or sanctioned by ECB, the ICC or any other National Cricket Federation.”

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It said Vincent had pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of its anti-corruption code in reference to three matches from 2008-2011.

An ECB spokesperson said on Thursday it had no comment. When contacted by Stuff, Vincent confirmed he was still subject to the ban from all sanctioned cricket.

The 45-year-old was understood to be a possible participant in a charity fundraising T20 game in Whangarei on Thursday night, featuring some former Black Caps.

It’s believed Vincent has played in similar events and other small-scale games, including indoor cricket, that don’t constitute a breach of his ban as they don’t fall under the jurisdiction of New Zealand Cricket.

Former New Zealand men’s coach John Bracewell said while the ex-test opener clearly erred, he should be given a second chance.

“People make mistakes – and Lou made a huge mistake, and I think he realises that,” Bracewell told Stuff.

“At some point, life isn't life – people get let out of prison for killing people.”

Lou Vincent bats against Sri Lanka in a test at the Basin Reserve.

Andrew Cornaga

Lou Vincent bats against Sri Lanka in a test at the Basin Reserve.

Vincent played 23 tests, 102 one-day internationals and nine T20Is for New Zealand between 2001 and 2007. An attacking right-handed batter, he made a century on test debut against Australia in Perth in November 2001 and averaged 34.15, with two further tons.

Bracewell coached the national side between 2003-2008 and said Vincent had many good qualities.

“I know that deep down, Lou was a decent person.

“He had a good soul, he looked after his team-mates, he looked out for people and he was a good tourist - as well as a very, very good cricketer. I think that those people sometimes just need a break.

“Sometimes he got a bit down on himself - you talk about mental health, I think at times he was on that edge, he needed assistance where, at the time, we were kind of almost amateurs really, we were probably unable to provide that support around him that he needed.

“The NZCPA [New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association] is very aware of that stuff now, and is very proactive in mental health.”

Vincent spoke of an attempted suicide and dealing with depression with Newstalk ZB in 2016.

“From my point of view, I had given up on the good of the world. I believed that bad was the best way to go and stuff the system, so to speak,” Vincent said.

He said he had attempted suicide after confessing to match-fixing.

Vincent said with the help of others and a lot of self-reflection, he had survived. “Ultimately it came down to me to let go of the past, to let my ego go.... I have learned to love myself for the first time in many many years.”

It’s understood a number of former international team-mates, along with domestic team-mates and rival players, are helping Vincent feel part of the cricketing community again and that NZ Cricket would not object if the ban was ended.

Black Caps batter Lou Vincent playing for Lancashire at Old Trafford in 2008.

Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Black Caps batter Lou Vincent playing for Lancashire at Old Trafford in 2008.

In 2014, then-NZC chief executive David White said the organisation was, “appalled” by Vincent's actions, “and supported the penalty handed down.”

Current Black Caps coach Gary Stead said in 2020 he supported Vincent’s efforts to make amends.

“Lou obviously made some mistakes and put his hand up and admitted to them as well," Stead told NZME.

“It's pretty sad he has to sit back and can't go to a cricket ground. I also know… Lou is trying to make amends.

“I wish him well. Everyone is entitled to a second chance and I know his heart is in it for the right reasons.”

Bracewell said this week: “At some stage you've got to bring people in from the cold. Cricket was his thing, and he made a mistake. At times, I think cricket was a lifeline for him.”

Former Black Caps coach John Bracewell supports Vincent being welcomed back to cricket (file photo).

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Former Black Caps coach John Bracewell supports Vincent being welcomed back to cricket (file photo).

In May, Vincent was living in Lumsden in Southland, but it’s understood the Warkworth-born former international has returned to Northland.

“They're [Northlanders] very family-oriented people, and they don't let their family get away from them. It doesn't surprise me they're a community that's welcomed Lou back into it,” Bracewell said.

“Everybody deserves a second chance at some stage. Life's a bit short, as they say, but in this case, it's a bit bloody long.”

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