I almost quit over bookie allegations: Mark Waugh

Published: Friday, July 26, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Senior Australian Test batsman Mark Waugh has claimed in a new biography that accusations he was on the payroll of an Indian bookmaker almost forced him to quit cricket.

In extracts from the book 'Mark Waugh: The biography' printed in Friday's editions of the 'Daily Telegraph', Waugh also said he had not been fully supported by the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) and hated dealing with the media since the incident. The International Cricket Council (ICC) investigated and cleared Waugh after Indian bookmaker Mukesh Gupta in 1998 claimed the batsman was on his payroll. It emerged that year that Waugh had been secretly fined A$ 10,000 ($ 5,675) in 1995 for providing weather and pitch information in return for payment from bookmaker 'John' during Australia's 1994 Sri Lankan tour. Waugh said during the ICC investigation in January 1998 the duress he was under caused him to feel sick, get headaches and lose weight. "I thought of going and playing (English) county cricket or just retiring from the game altogether," Waugh writes. "I was getting to the point where I couldn't stand all the pressure and hassle. There's only so much you can take." Waugh claimed during his investigation by the ICC the ACB didn't really ever show any support despite his long distinguished international career. "The cricket Board had its own agenda," Waugh writes. "It wanted to come out as transparent and as clean as possible. To be honest, I don't think it worried too much about me. It was looking after its own image. "I had my people looking after me because I knew the ACB wouldn't look after me." Waugh believed he has been under harsh media scrutiny ever since the controversy. "Since 1998 I haven't really enjoyed my cricket career," Waugh writes. "There has always been something nagging there. I've felt the media has always been nagging away, keeping a close eye on me and my form. I don't think I hate anything more in my career than dealing with the media." Waugh, 37, has played 125 Tests and scored 7,949 runs with 20 centuries, averaging 42.28. He has also played 244 one-day internationals and scored 8,500 runs.

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