Aussie duo claim approaches
Watson, Haddin both targeted by Indian bookmaker
Last Updated: August 31, 2010 11:28am
Australian duo Shane Watson and Brad Haddin both claim to have been approached by an Indian bookmaker in the past 16 months.
"I probably feel for him more than anyone because he's only a young, naive and innocent young guy who is a really, really nice guy."
Watson on Amir Quotes of the week
All-rounder Watson has revealed he targeted during last year's Ashes tour of England, while a similar approach was made to wicket-keeper Haddin during this year's World Twenty20 in the West Indies.
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney, both players said that they reported the incidents to team management but insisted they were never specifically asked to try and influence the result of a match.
"It was an Indian fan, or that's what I thought it was, who 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 he enjoyed the way I played," Watson recalled.
"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 Kensington Garden 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... and 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 that were trying to get involved."
Of his experience, Haddin added: "Basically I was just sitting in my room, we'd just put our luggage outside our door to move onto the next venue... and about half an hour after putting my luggage out I got a knock on my door from someone asking if I wanted to come across to their room to have a drink, which I thought was a bit odd.
"And I quickly rang Steve Bernard and John Rhodes (who manages the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security unit in Australia and New Zealand) just to tell them something weird had just happened.
"You don't usually get a knock on your door with someone asking you to come across to your room for a drink and then go out for dinner with someone you don't know.
"I think they checked footage of who the person was and it was someone that they were well aware of. I'd never seen the person (before) or never heard from him or seen him since."
While Haddin remains unsure if both approaches were made by the same individual, Watson has little doubt.
"I heard that Brad Haddin had a similar conversation with an Indian guy and after talking with him as well and describing the gentleman that was talking to us it seemed like it was the same guy," Watson said.
Sympathy for Amir
The issue of bookmakers' involvement in cricket is threatening to irreversibly tarnish the image of the game at present following allegations in the News Of The World that numerous members of the Pakistan team - including captain Salman Butt, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and star bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - were involved with illegal betting syndicates.
Watson acknowledged he has some sympathy for teenager Amir who is accused of deliberately bowling no-balls amid claims of 'spot-fixing' in the fourth Test defeat to England at Lord's.
The Australian feels Amir is likely to have been lead astray, stating: "When I first heard about it I was in complete shock, there's no doubt about that.
"Especially one young guy, Mohammed Amir, who I do have a lot of respect for as to the way he plays on the field. I found him to be a brilliant competitor on the field.
"I probably feel for him more than anyone because he's only a young, naive and innocent young guy who is a really, really nice guy.
"But unfortunately he's caught up with something... I don't know how deep it runs but it's unfortunate that someone of his skill especially has got tied up with something that is damaging to cricket and to the individuals."