ADELAIDE |The troubled life of former Adelaide-based international cricketer Lou Vincent has taken a sad turn with his life ban from the sport. In a video statement released overnight, Vincent, who played district cricket at Prospect Cricket Club, said he had lived with his “dark secret” for many years, and had only recently decided to come forward and tell the truth.
“I am a cheat. I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing,” he said. “I have shamed my country. I have shamed my sport. I have shamed those close to me. I lost faith in myself and the game. I abused the game I love.”
The punishment, which was confirmed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, stems from one-day matches that Vincent admitted he helped rig in English county cricket. His former Sussex team mate, Naveed Arif, was also banned for life last month after admitting similar corruption offences.
Vincent –Pix by AFP
The ECB said in a statement that Vincent had pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of its anti-corruption regulations. Four charges related to a Twenty20 match between his team Lancashire and Durham in June 2008. The remaining 14 concerned two fixtures played in August 2011 – a Sussex v Lancashire Twenty20 and a Sussex v Kent one-day match.
“We are extremely pleased that the matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that an individual who repeatedly sought to involve others in corrupt activity for his own personal gain has accepted that his conduct warrants a lifetime ban from cricket,” said ECB chief David Collier.
In June Vincent was banned for three years in Bangladesh for failing to report approaches to fix matches. Vincent was born in New Zealand and is the son of well known ABC NewsRadio sports announcer Mike Vincent. At the age of 15, his parents separated with Mike and Lou moving to Adelaide where he became a key A-grader for Prospect.
I remember at the end of our road in Adelaide an abandoned quarry. It was my peaceful haven where I could escape my home where nervousness and not belonging compounded my introduction into teenage years.
In the off season he umpired amateur league footy and became known for giving it back to abusive players. He was part of a talent development squad and was in sight of a chance to break into state cricket ranks. However, he clashed with his SACA coaches and decided to move back to New Zealand in 1997 at the age of 18.
It wasn’t long before his talent took him to the top. On his Test debut in 2001, he scored a century against Steve Waugh’s Australians. He then went on to make a half-century in the second innings, becoming only one of a handful of players to score 100 and a 50 on debut. Vincent played 23 Tests, 102 one-day internationals and nine Twenty20 internationals from 2001-07.
He later revealed an ongoing problem with depression, recalling his lonely days in Adelaide. “When you find yourself in a place where you want to end your life, it is the lowest of the low,” he wrote inAugust 2012. “You forget everything and everyone else, you are so self-obscured you don’t see sense. It’s a bad place to be. The first time I really contemplated that journey to ease the pain, I was a teenager. I remember at the end of our road in Adelaide an abandoned quarry. It was my peaceful haven where I could escape my home where nervousness and not belonging compounded my introduction into teenage years. I would climb the boulders and eventually make it to the top overlooking the amazing scenery of Adelaide city from the south.”
“The one boulder that formed a natural diving board over the quarry was my best friend at the time. Hours and hours getting to know each other, we shared stories and patience. It was nice to talk to something. He could have been my last friend, my only friend. The friend that I needed right then to say ‘Don’t do it Lou, it will hurt’. What would have hurt? The landing 200ft below? The effect it would have on family and friends? Or the hurt of not understanding what life’s about and having regret? It was the latter for me.”
“I’m glad I didn’t jump, although if I had known what more pain I was going to go through, I sometimes wish I had. In heaven there is no pain.”
Yesterday, Vincent was facing more pain – and he refused to blame his depression for the mistakes that have ended his career. In a five-minute statement, Vincent said he accepted responsibility for what he had done.
“Laying bare the things I have done wrong is the only way I can find to begin to put things right,” he said. “It is entirely my fault that I will never be able to stand in front of a game again. It is entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers,” he said.
“I do suffer from depression, but it is absolutely no reason or excuse for all I have done wrong. The people who know me know I am vulnerable. But they also know I am not stupid and that I know what is right and what is wrong.”
He said he would regret his actions for the rest of his life.