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Home > Cricket > The Cup > PTI > Report


SA player was approached by bookie in India

March 24, 2007 10:04 IST

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The Cup: Complete Coverage

A bookmaker approached a South African cricketer during the team's visit to India in 2005, the team's manager at the World Cup Goolam Rajah said on Friday.

"The question was just 'What is the team tomorrow'," Rajah, speaking to media, recalled the bookie as asking his player two years ago.

South Africa toured India for five one-day internationals and drew the series 2-2 after one of the games was rained out.

Rajah refused to identify the player or name the bookie but said the player is not part of the squad in the Caribbean.

Only three players from the squad that visited India -- Johan Botha, Albie Morkel and Justin Ontong -- are not in South Africa's World Cup team.

Rajah described the incident as innocent and said it was reported to the ICC.

"In the past, we would easily say, 'Joe Soap is not playing', but no longer. Now we don't announce the team, whether it is picked or not," he said.

"The players are trained to phone as soon as they've been approached, not to get into any discussion with these people, only to take their phone details and pass it onto the authorities. Nothing happened other than that one phone call.

"That is the protocol. If a player is approached, he has to let us know immediately because we have a system for dealing with it."

Late Hansie Cronje, South Africa's former captain, was allegedly tapped in conversation with a bookmaker in 2000, leading to unearthing of a match-fixing scandal.

Cronje was banned for life as also India's former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Pakistani cricketer Salim Malik.

"There's a lot more awareness now than there was five years ago," Rajah said.

"The players are aware that there are people out there who are interested in finding out things we know, and the players are more cautious.

"Sometimes we took things for granted in the past, because we never thought that these things would happen."

The spectre of match fixing has reared its head following the murder of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer on World Cup duty here on Sunday.

Woolmer, who was South Africa's coach during Cronje's captaincy, was killed on Sunday.

The Jamaican police said Woolmer was strangled to death by a person whom he knew.

"If there is one lesson that we've learnt, it is that you can't have enough security," Rajah said.

"We've made applications to beef up the security, and ICC have assured us that that will be the case.

"I think a lot of our players have experience of the subcontinent, and what we told them there is the same as what we've told them here.

"It's a case of being vigilant. If you get a call or a knock on the door from someone you don't know, I've told them repeatedly to please let me know."

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