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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Watson says he was approached by illegal bookmaker

Watson says he was approached by illegal bookmaker

Last updated on: August 31, 2010 15:38 IST

Shane WatsonAustralian cricketer Shane Watson on Tuesday said he was approached by a suspected Mumbai gangster, linked with bookmakers in India, during the tour of England last year.

Watson's revelation came after the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the all-rounder was approached in the bar of the team's West London hotel, the Royal Kensington Garden, after the Lord's Test, while wicketkeeper Haddin was confronted during the World Twenty20 tournament last year.

"Both players had immediately reported the approaches to the authorities and neither is suspected of any wrongdoing," the newspaper said.

Watson said he was approached twice by the illegal bookmaker and he had reported the matter to Australian team management.

"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," he told the Australian Associated Press.

"It was just a little bit different to what normal fans are," he said.

Watson's admission came after spot-fixing allegations against several Pakistani cricketers, including captain Salman Butt, rocked the world cricket.

Mazhar Majeed, an alleged bookie, claimed in a sting operation by British tabloid News of the World that several Pakistani cricketers were involved in spot as well as match-fixing.

Watson was in "complete shock" when he first learned of the match-fixing allegations and said if found true the accused players face the risk of life ban.

"When I first heard about it I was in complete shock, there's no doubt about that. If the allegations are true then they will unfortunately get a lifetime ban," he said.

The 29-year-old Australian all-rounder said he is upset about young Mohammad Amir's involvement in the match-fixing scandal.

"I probably feel for him (Aamer) more than anyone because he's only a young, naive and innocent guy," Watson said.

"Unfortunately he's caught up with something (and) whether it's in their culture I don't know, I don't know how deep it runs but it's unfortunate that someone of his skill has got tied up with something that is damaging to cricket and to the individuals.

"I found him to be a brilliant competitor on the field. He always gave everything he got every single time that I competed against him and I found him to be an extremely skillful bowler for a 19-year-old," he said.

Photograph: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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