Ian Healy puts the hard word on match fixer Lou Vincent
FORMER Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Ian Healy believes match fixing has the potential to drag the game down the drain.
Healy's comments came after former New Zealand international Lou Vincent received a lifetime ban from the England and Wales Cricket Board recently.
Vincent pleaded guilty to 18 charges of fixing, which were brought against him relating to matches he played for English counties Lancashire in 2008 and Durham in 2011.
Vincent said he shamed his country and sport with his actions in a statement, with the infamous opening line: "My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat".
Healy believes match-fixing is cricket's biggest threat in the ongoing quest for fans.
"If it's entrenched in the sport, then yes (it is)," Healy told APN.
"Because then the sponsors can start dropping off, and the television coverage and ratings suffer.
"A lot is being done to stop match fixing, but it's still happening now, just like it was 30 years ago."
Vincent's former teammate Chris Cairns's name has been dragged into the ugly controversy, but he has strenuously denied the allegations brought against him.
He is still waiting on a verdict to be handed down by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service in September.
Healy played against Cairns, who was an outstanding allrounder for the Black Caps, and offered a form of support for the under-fire New Zealand legend.
"Chris was always an excellent competitor and New Zealand was always a different team when he played for them," Healy said.