Ban relaxed: Vincent can return to domestic cricket

Lou Vincent playing for Auckland in 2012. Photo: Getty Images
Lou Vincent playing for Auckland in 2012. Photo: Getty Images
Former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent says he's grateful to have his life ban for match fixing relaxed by England's cricket board, which will allow him to be involved in domestic cricket.

The ECB had announced a life ban on Vincent in 2014 after the disgraced player admitted he was a "cheat" and had shamed his country and the sport by fixing matches.

Vincent had pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of the board's anti-corruption regulations in three matches in England and had accepted the ban which barred him from playing or coaching in any form of recognised cricket.

However, the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission said on Friday the decision to relax the ban was reached after considering the circumstances of his case along with his "full and frank admissions and disclosures" and his "total cooperation" with the authorities.

"I made a terrible mistake many years ago which I'll deeply regret for the rest of my life, and I remain very sorry for the harm I caused," Vincent, 45, said in a statement.

"Being able to return to the cricket environment means the world to me and I feel very fortunate to again have that opportunity."

Vincent, who played 23 tests and more than 100 one-day internationals for New Zealand, had been investigated for being involved in attempting to manipulate 12 matches in five countries between 2008 and 2012.

He pleaded guilty to offences relating to two matches he played for English county Sussex in August 2011 - a Twenty20 contest against Lancashire and a 40-over clash with Kent - besides another T20 match between Lancashire and Durham in 2008.

Second chance 'long overdue'

Leading commentator Bryan Waddle says Vincent's second chance is long overdue and the former Black Cap would be a positive force in whichever path he chooses.

"He probably would like to get involved in club administration," Waddle told RNZ. 

"I know he was interested in being a coach and he could be a mentor for young people. He has been doing work in the area of anti-corruption and taking responsibility for his actions. So I think there's a wide area that could be available.

"I've had a lot of dealings with him over a long period of time, and I'm sure he will add to the cricket community."

Waddle believed it was a harsh punishment imposed on Vincent.

"He deserved to be penalised for his actions, but there's always room for a way back and I think it's a good decision for cricket.

"I think it's a fair and reasonable decision, he's served his time and his suspension and it's been regarded worldwide that people who have been given life bans have had those rescinded."

Vincent is not allowed to play at the top level, but due to his age this would have been unlikely.

Waddle said Vincent's team-mates will be supportive of the ruling, with the New Zealand Players Association also having a hand in the successful appeal.

"The ban, of course, came out of England not from New Zealand. New Zealand was just forced to accept it.

"Sometimes sport and the game of cricket is a little bit too serious. Eleven life bans? For God's sake!"

- Reuters and RNZ