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Australia pair were contacted by bookmaker

Shane Watson and Brad Haddin have claimed they were approached by an illegal Indian bookmaker while playing for Australia during last year's Ashes tour of England.

SYDNEY // Shane Watson and Brad Haddin have claimed they were approached by an illegal Indian bookmaker while playing for Australia during last year's Ashes tour of England. Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson also were approached by a bookmaker on the same tour, Australian Associated Press reported yesterday, citing an unnamed Cricket Australia spokesperson but giving no other details. Watson said he had immediately reported their separate meetings to team management because the approaches were "more intense" than the usual contact with ordinary fans. The bookmaker met Watson while the Australia team were staying at an exclusive hotel in London and praised the 29-year-old all-rounder before inviting him out for drinks and "a bit of fun". "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," Watson said. Haddin said he was approached separately, with an Indian man coming to the wicketkeeper's hotel room while he was talking to his wife on the telephone. The unusual encounter raised Haddin's suspicions and he alerted Steve Bernard, the team manager, and John Rhodes, the ICC's security manager. Amid the latest claims of match-fixing, Pakistan's surprising loss from a commanding position in a Test against Australia earlier this year has been called into question by some critics. Pakistan lost the three-match series 3-0. Indian Premier League (IPL) cricketers have also been approached about spot-fixing over the last two-and-a-half years, former India player Atul Wassan said yesterday. He said that a couple of IPL players, whom he would not name, confided to him that they had received approaches about spot-fixing which they had turned down.

* Agencies

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