Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BOOKIES TARGETED AUSSIES; WATSON REVEALS HE WAS APPROACHED IN LONDON HOTEL DURING ASHES SERIES; Aussies Were a Target for Bookies in Ashes Series

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BOOKIES TARGETED AUSSIES; WATSON REVEALS HE WAS APPROACHED IN LONDON HOTEL DURING ASHES SERIES; Aussies Were a Target for Bookies in Ashes Series

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIA all-rounder Shane Watson and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin today confirmed they had been approached by an Indian bookmaker in the past 16 months, writes Andy Hodgson.

Watson was targeted at a top London hotel during last year's Ashes tour of England and a similar approach was made to Haddin during this year's World Twenty20 in the West Indies.

The revelations came as a further blow to the reputation of cricket, with the International Cricket Council already investigating allegations in the News of the World that seven members of the Pakistan team -- including captain Salman Butt, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and star pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir -- were involved with illegal betting syndicates.

Speaking at a hastily convened press conference in Sydney, both Australians said they reported the separate incidents to team management but insisted they were never specifically asked to alter the result of a match. "It was an Indian fan, or that's what I thought it was," Watson said.

"He knew a lot about me and what I did in the IPL and was only too kind with his praise about how I've been playing and how he enjoyed the way I played. And then it got down to a bit more 'we'd like to take you out for drinks' and that sort of thing.

"It happened a couple of times when we were at the Royal Garden Hotel in London and I just went through the right channels and told [team manager] Steve Bernard.

"The first time was in the breakfast room talking about cricket really in general and then it got to 'I'd like to take you out for a few drinks' and that sort of thing. Then, the second time, it wasn't so much about the cricket side of things, it was more about taking us out and wanting to have some fun in London.

"I didn't think too much more of it until I found out a bit more information and that he was actually one of the illegal bookmakers who were trying to get involved. …

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