Chris Cairns says fighting to clear his name in the High Court in London "was a real rollercoaster".
Cairns' supporters have been celebrating today after former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi was ordered to pay Cairns $175,000 in damages and $775,000 in court costs, over a post he made on Twitter in January 2010.
The tweet accused Cairns of match-fixing in the 2008 season of the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL). Cairns said the claim was untrue and therefore libellous, and had damaged his reputation.
High Court Judge David Bean announced his judgement last night (NZT), saying Modi "singularly failed to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot fixing".
Cairns said the verdict was a bittersweet victory.
"Today's verdict lifts a dark cloud that has been over me for the past two years," he said.
"I went to the highest court possible, I laid my soul bare, and was found that there was no justification on what Modi said."
He told ONE News people told him "it was risky" taking Modi to court but he said he had full confidence in the process.
"I am proud that I had the courage to stand up and defend my name and great relief that I can once again walk into any cricket ground in the world with my head held high."
"It was a real rollercoaster, almost two and half years, so it's a long time and a long time to be on the outer."
He said Modi took a flippant approach to his career.
"When he made the tweet he was at the height of his power in world cricket - probably the most powerful man in world cricket so you know along with that comes responsibility," Cairns told ONE News.
Cairns said he also felt sadness at what he had to put himself, his family and friends through "because of one man's misdirected allegations".
His mother, Sue Wilson, told Breakfast it had been a hard time and the verdict was a relief.
"To take on such a big guy like that, I was very worried about it, but he got through it very well, I'm very relieved," she said.
"I never doubted him but I don't think I ever asked him (if he had cheated)."
She said he took the same tenacity that made him a top sportsman and applied it to this battle, "you never win an argument with him," Wilson said.
Not the end
But despite the ruling, former Black Cap John Morrison said this might not be the end of Cairns' problems.
"I hope this has put him right but I rather suspect it won't," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.
"It may just be the beginning because I don't think Modi and his supporters will walk away from this. So (it's) good news for Chris but I don't think this is the end of it and I'm sad to say that."
Morrison compared Cairns' case against one of the most powerful men in world cricket as "taking a water pistol to a gun fight," but said despite the result some potential employers may find him "too hot to handle".
"People will say he just because he got off the court case
doesn't mean he didn't do it. I see a very difficult time, it's a
start for him but I suspect this will go on for some time."
And Modi is not going to back down.
"I have received the judgement and I am immediately considering appealing with my legal team it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this time," he said.
Former teammates from the Chandigarh Lions testified against him, and Cairns was described as the "master of match-fixing" by Modi's legal team during the court case.
But Justice Bean said some witnesses were inconsistent, and he was suspicious that they could claim to have perfect recall of conversations three years on from the event.
He agreed with a description of TP Singh as an "out and out cheat and a man who could not be trusted," and said he "cannot place any reliance on a word Mr (Gaurav) Gupta said."
During the nine-day trial, Modi's legal team told the court that Cairns was corrupt when contracted to play in the ICL in 2008, and was dismissed because of the allegations.
But despite the damaging accusations against him, Cairns never gave up, his advisor and witness for his case, Andrew Fitch-Holland, said.
"It has to be said the defence was conducted in what one could charitably describe as a robust manner, but which the trial judge Mr Justice Bean characterised as being aggressive and at times intrusive," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.