Former Blackcap Lou Vincent won't return to cricket any time soon, despite having his life ban from the sport relaxed.

In 2014, Vincent, 45, was handed 11 life bans by the England &  Wales Cricket Board for matchfixing, after admitting to 18 separate breaches of anti-corruption regulations.

To his credit, he never denied his guilt and co-operated fully with officials in their investigations into corruption at domestic level in England.

The ban applied to the game at all levels and prevented Vincent from being involved in the sport in any capacity.

Those sanctions have been relaxed, with Vincent able to return to the game at the domestic level or lower. The process took more than 12 months, with collaboration from his lawyer and the NZ Cricket Players Association.

NZCPA chief executive Heath Mills has told Newshub that Vincent won't immediately return to the game at any level.  

"Lou's not looking to get heavily back into the sport any time soon," he said. "He's building and he's happily living up north.

"In the future, he'll look to take his family along and perhaps get engaged at community level, but it's a wait and see.

"There's no rush from his perspective to get heavily involved back in the sport. He has a life outside of cricket and we support him with that.  

"We look forward to him having a good future back involved in the sport at any level, whether that's schools, clubs or community level. That'll be a good thing for Lou."

Vincent is not the first player banned from cricket for corruption, but his punishment was among the harshest. Only seven international players have received life bans, but none since Vincent in 2014.

With individual boards determining the length of bans - the ECB in Vincent's case - inconsistency is seen from nation to nation.  

Former South Africa test opener Alviro Peterson was handed a two-year ban for matchfixing in 2016, while compatriot Lonwabo Tsotsobe was hit with an eight-year sentence for the same offence in 2015, both by Cricket South Africa. 

While Mills agrees Vincent should have been punished, he also argues the severity will only deter future players from coming forward. Even failing to report an approach to fix matches is considered a punishable offence by the game's lawmakers.  

"Eleven life bans was ridiculous," he continued. "It didn't do anything to help the fight against match-fixing.

"In fact, it probably discouraged other players coming forward and giving information to the authorities.

"This is now the right outcome. He's put his hand up, he told his story, he's been heavily engaged in anti-corruption in trying to help the sport... he's doing the right thing now.

"It's right now that cricket starts to embrace him more than it has the last 10 years."

Vincent will continue to be an example for those vulnerable to the lure of corruption. In the nine years since his ban, he has lent his voice to other sports in New Zealand to deter up-and-coming players from making the wrong decisions.  

Now he can be re-integrated back into the sport, the NZCPA continues to have an incredible mentor at their disposal, as cricket continues to adapt to an evolving club-based world.

"He's going to be a great resource and he wants to keep contributing to helping people in the fight against corruption full stop," added Mills.  

"I hope a lot more sports and agencies look to engage him, and get him to tell his story. It's a powerful story, and it's a real eye-opener to current athletes to understand the trappings of matchfixing and corruption.

"The more young athletes understand how they can get exposed to the wrong things and how to avoid making the wrong decisions, the better."

2023-12-09T22:00:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd