Watson: 'Claims damaging to game of cricket'

Australian cricketer Shane Watson is worried about the damage the current match-fixing trial is doing to cricket.

    Watson was blown away by allegations although said Australia cricket body is on-top of match-fixing [GALLO/GETTY]

    Claims that Australian players were some of he biggest match-fixers in cricket were shocking, damaging and threatened the integrity of the game, allrounder Shane Watson said on Tuesday.

    The Australia opener said the unproven allegations, made by the player agent at the center of the Pakistan spot-fixing case, were "unbelievably" disappointing.

    Agent Mazhar Majeed's claims that Australians were involved in fixing parts of matches for betting scams were made in recordings played to a London court on Monday during the trial of former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammed Asif.

    They are accused of corruption relating to a Test match against England at Lord's in August 2011.

    But Majeed did not name any Australian players and did not back up his assertions with any evidence.

    "Very disappointing and pretty shocking really to see these allegations that have come out from this court case that is going on at the moment," Watson said from South Africa, where he is on tour with Australia's team.

    "I know from my perspective how damaging they really are to the game of cricket, but also to the individuals.

    "It's just very disappointing these things happen because it challenges the integrity of the game we all love so much."

    Watson added Australia's cricket body was "on top of" match-fixing problems.

    'Baseless' claims

    Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said earlier on Tuesday that Majeed's claims were "outlandish and made by a person of dubious repute."

    Sutherland promised an investigation if any evidence was presented, but said the claims so far appeared "baseless."

    "The Australians, they are the biggest, they have 10 brackets a game"

    Agent Mazhar Majeed

    The tape recordings were made by the prosecution's chief witness Mazhar Mahmood, an undercover journalist who was working for the now-defunct British tabloid newspaper The News of the World.

    On the tape, Majeed told Mahmood that Australian players would fix "brackets," a set period of a match on which gamblers bet, for example, on how many runs will be scored.

    "The Australians, they are the biggest, they have 10 brackets a game," Majeed said.

    In Cape Town, Watson said unproven claims like Majeed's made people suspicious of anything unusual or unpredictable in sport.

    "Crazy events sometimes do happen so you never want people questioning what exactly is going on. So it's very disappointing when these things come out," Watson said.

    SOURCE: AP


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