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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Mumbai gangster approached Watson, Haddin

Mumbai gangster approached Watson, Haddin

August 31, 2010 09:54 IST

Australian cricketers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin were approached by a suspected Mumbai-based gangster with links to illegal bookmakers during their tour of England last year, it was reported on Tuesday.

Watson was approached at the Australian team hotel in London during the Ashes series last year, while Haddin was contacted during the 2009 World Twenty20 tournament in UK, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Both players immediately reported the approaches to the team management and were cleared of any wrongdoing.

The sport was thrown into a turmoil on Saturday, after police in London arrested London-based bookie Mazhar Majeed for offering bribes to some Pakistan players for spot fixing in the fourth Test against England at Lord's following claims in the tabloid newspaper, the News of the World.

The man also told the newspaper the Sydney Test in January, which Australia won by 36 runs after overcoming a 206-run first innings deficit before dismissing Pakistan for 139 in their run chase, had been fixed.

The match was investigated by the ICC's anti-corruption unit, while the Pakistan tour of Australia, in which the tourists lost all of their matches, was the subject to an inquiry by the Pakistani board.

However, Australia's cricketers remain convinced their Test victory over Pakistan in Sydney earlier this year was achieved fairly after the contest has once again become the subject of match-fixing allegations.

The man at the centre of the allegations was released without charge on police bail on Monday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) promised on Monday that "prompt and decisive action" will be taken against Pakistani players if they are found guilty of 'spot-fixing' in the fourth Test against England in London.

The ICC has not yet suspended any of Pakistani players after the scandal broke out on Sunday but made it clear that the world body will not be lenient on any cricketer found guilty.

"The integrity of the game is of paramount importance. Prompt and decisive action will be taken against those who seek to harm it," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.

Lorgat said ICC's Anti-corruption and Security Unit has already started investigation into the allegations. He said the investigation has the full support and co-operation of both the ECB and PCB and ACSU officials were assisting London's Metropolitan Police in their criminal investigation.

It was also reported on Monday that large quantities of bank notes were found in the London hotel rooms of a few Pakistan cricketers in a raid by the Scotland Yard detectives and they could be arrested for conspiracy to defraud, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.