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Former New Zealand cricketer John Parker is fast running out of time to settle a nasty dispute with Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum before it heads to the High Court next week.
McCullum yesterday announced, through Christchurch lawyer Garth Gallaway, that defamation proceedings would be instigated against Parker next week, unless Parker apologises for comments he made over the sacking of former skipper Ross Taylor in November.
He is not seeking monetary damages, just an acknowledgement the claims Parker made against him “are completely false”.
Parker made some strong accusations, claiming McCullum was aware that coach Mike Hesson was going to replace Taylor with him.
Parker is in Dubai and cnnot be contacted for comment, while McCullum is in India at the India Premier League.
McCullum denied any knowledge of the situation regarding the captaincy on his return from Sri Lanka.
Rumours abounded that he’d been alerted in advance to the captaincy change, because of his close personal relationship with former Otago coach Hesson.
Gallaway said the action being taken by McCullum was unusual, but indicated his depth of feeling about the issue.
When Parker raised the issue publicly again this month, claiming to have a historical document, Gallaway said he had never seen McCullum so upset.
“Brendon’s honesty has been questioned, while the document also went on to mention that he picked and chose when he played for the team. That was deeply hurtful and he wants his name cleared.”
Gallaway said they had been trying for the past fortnight to get the matter resolved out of the public arena with a retraction and apology, but to no avail.
“There is still a little time, but it is running out.”
Hesson issued a statement yesterday, saying he had similar concerns to McCullum about the comments made by Parker.
“I have taken legal advice and the matter is currently being dealt with by my lawyers.”
Gallaway said McCullum was aware there was plenty of ill-informed comment about the issue, but he only wanted Parker to retract his statement and apologise.
He said they were not taking any legal action against media who had published Parker’s claims.
Parker’s support group comprises many former internationals, including Wellington’s John Morrison.
Morrison was disturbed to learn about potential court action, and called for McCullum and Parker to sit around a table and sort out their differences.
“I realise there has been turmoil, but it is a shame when it reverts to court action,” Morrison said.
“The whole of New Zealand cricket will get dredged through a terrible performance if this goes to court and no one will win – it won’t be healthy for either party.
While John Parker will be scrutinised so, too, will Brendon McCullum.
“New Zealand Cricket should be pushing for that to happen, too. I’d like to see them taking a leadership role.”
Asked whether he was standing by the much-maligned Parker and felt guilty by association, Morrison said: “John Parker is a friend of mine”.
Morrison has always maintained he aligned himself with the pressure group solely for governance reasons.
“I think the endeavour to get good governance of New Zealand Cricket has always been the goal of the group, so from my point of view, that still is the goal.
“It is shame this has become a sideshow to the bigger picture.”
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