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Saturday, January 9, 1999 Published at 04:56 GMT

Sport: Cricket

May backs cricket bribery claims

Shane Warne admitted selling information about pitches

Former Australian Test spinner Tim May has told the Pakistani judicial inquiry into match-fixing how Shane Warne reacted with shock after saying he had been offered a bribe to throw a match.

The inquiry was convened after batsman Mark Waugh and spinner Warne admitted they accepted money from a bookmaker during the 1994 Singer Cup series in Sri Lanka.

Both players were fined over the affair - but there are expected to be calls from the sub-continent's delegates at this weekend's International Cricket Council meeting for them to be banned.

[ image: Salim Malik made alleged offers the day before Pakistan beat Australia]
Salim Malik made alleged offers the day before Pakistan beat Australia
May told the judicial commission in Melbourne that Warne was invited by ex-Pakistan captain Salim Malik to his hotel room during the first Test between the two countries in 1994. Pakistan won the match.

May said Warne, a fellow spinner and room-mate, had returned after spending about 10 minutes with Salim Malik, who had offered him and May £135,000 each if they were prepared to play badly.

Reading from an affidavit he originally gave to the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) in 1995, May said Warne was shocked when he returned.

"He said 'you're not going to believe this' and told me we had been offered £135,000 each," said May.

But May said he had never talked to Malik about the issue.

May also recounted how the Australians learnt later in the tour that Mark Waugh had also allegedly been approached by Malik with another offer of £135,000 for Australian players to perform badly in a one-day match.

[ image: Mark Waugh: No cover-up, says ACB]
Mark Waugh: No cover-up, says ACB
Waugh told the inquiry he provided pitch and weather information on about 10 occasions and received the money from the bookmaker identified only as "John".

They told the inquiry of an approach by Salim Malik during a function in Pakistan in which he allegedly offered £135,000 if he could get four or five Australian players to play badly and lose a match the next day. But the offer was refused.

Former ACB chairman Alan Crompton denied any attempt by the board to cover up the bookmaker scandal after it fined Waugh and Warne when they admitted accepting money.

Under cross-examination by Pakistan Cricket Board legal advisers, Crompton said the board did not make the fines public because of its policy.

"I deny in the strongest terms there was a cover-up," he said.

"The discipline of players for matters other than those in the public arena are private and that procedure was followed."

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