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Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:11 UK

Shane Watson & Brad Haddin 'approached' by bookmaker

Brad Haddin and Shane Watson
Haddin and Watson rejected the advances of an Indian bookmaker

Australian duo Shane Watson and Brad Haddin have alleged that they were approached by an Indian bookmaker last year while playing in England.

Watson says he was invited for a drink while on the Ashes tour while Haddin was targeted during the World Twenty20.

"It happened a couple of times in London and I just went and told [team manager] Steve Bernard," said Watson.

The claims come as British police investigate four Pakistan players over allegations of spot-fixing.

Sunday tabloid newspaper the News of the World alleges that two of Pakistan's players deliberately bowled three no-balls as part of a betting scam in last week's Test match against England at Lord's.

Captain Salman Butt, bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal are the quartet being questioned.

All-rounder Watson, 29, insists he was not specifically asked to alter the result of a match during the 2009 Ashes series in England and that while his conversations with an Indian man had been friendly, he thought it best to report his encounter to Bernard.

You have to be so careful with everything you do now, everyone you meet, everywhere you go

Australia captain Ricky Ponting

"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 Indian Premier League and was only too kind with his praise about how I've been playing and he enjoyed the way I played," said Watson

"I actually didn't think too much more of it apart from I should talk to Bernard to let him know there's one guy who's probably a little bit more intense who was staying in our hotel.

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

However, Watson admitted to having some sympathy for 18-year-old Amir, who took six England wickets at Lord's.

"When I first heard about it I was in complete shock," he added.

"Especially Amir who I do have a lot of respect for as the way he plays on the field. I probably feel for him more than anyone because he's only a naive and innocent young guy.

"If the allegations are true they will get a life ban which for someone like Amir, who is at the start of his career, would be extremely disappointing."

Haddin too alerted Bernard after an Indian man went to his room during the World Twenty20 tournament in 2009.

"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," he said.

"I quickly rang Steve Bernard and John Rhodes (who manages the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security unit in Australia and New Zealand) to tell them something weird had just happened.

"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."

Former Australian pace bowler Geoff Lawson, who was Pakistan coach in 2007-08, has offered words of support for three of the accused.

Writing in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald, he said: "I had a lot to do with Mohammad Asif and he was always missing training sessions to look after his sick mother.

"He has spent a lot of his money looking after his family.

"If Salman Butt is involved in any match-fixing, I would be absolutely stunned.

"He is a very intelligent, polite guy and has done well since taking over the team.

"It would be the greatest tragedy if a young man like Amir has been led astray."

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, writing in his column for The Australian newspaper, added: "We know what to do and we do it.

"We let the team manager know straight away and the ICC is informed from there. You have to be so careful with everything you do now, everyone you meet, everywhere you go."

Australia's Mark Waugh and Shane Warne were fined in 1995 for taking money from an Indian bookmaker in exchange for information on pitch and weather conditions during a tour to Sri Lanka.

Players from South Africa, India and Pakistan were banned from international cricket in the game's more recent match-fixing scandals.

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see also
Pakistan trio keen to see row end
04 Sep 10 |  England
Pakistan face calls for life bans
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Pakistani anger at another cricket scandal
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England finish off tarnished Test
29 Aug 10 |  England
Cricket's fight against fixing
29 Aug 10 |  Cricket
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
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