Thatscricket - News - Warne denies having association with bookie

Published: Monday, February 16, 2004, 18:33 [IST]
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Melbourne:Test leg-spinner Shane Warne and Cricket Australia dismissed a claim that he was seen in the company of an Indian gambler during Australia's 1999 World Cup campaign in England.

Warne, 34, described as "total rubbish" allegations that he and West Indies captain Brian Lara were seen emerging from a London restaurant with Delhi-based gambler Ratan Mehta.

India's Outlook magazine has reported the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit suspects Mehta of fixing a match between India and Pakistan during the 1999 World Cup, which India won by 47 runs.

The magazine reports that Warne and Lara were allegedly seen in Mehta's company by an unidentified Delhi-based businessman, who has since been interviewed by members of the anti-corruption unit.

The magazine made no connection between Warne and the alleged match-fixing.

Warne, who is almost a week back from a 12-month drug suspension and is bidding to be selected in Australia's Test team to play a series in Sri Lanka next month, has denied dining -- or meeting -- with Mehta.

"This story is total rubbish and completely untrue," Warne said in a statement released in Melbourne on Monday. "The only time I have had dinner with Brian Lara in London was at the Pizza Pomodero with his manager, David Manassi, and my good friend, (soccer player) Dwight Yorke.

"As far as Ratan Mehta is concerned, I have never even heard of him before."

Cricket Australia (CA) said it would not launch an investigation into the new claims and had no plans to speak with Warne.

"Shane Warne has emphatically denied the reports which have surfaced out of India overnight, and at this stage, Cricket Australia does not consider these current allegations credible to warrant any formal investigation," CA acting chief executive officer David Fouvy said in a statement.

"Cricket Australia is fully committed to ensuring cricket remains free from corruption.

"If we are presented with any credible allegations of misconduct against Australian players or officials, these will be fully investigated."

In 1995, Warne and Mark Waugh were fined by the then Australian Cricket Board for accepting money from an Indian bookmaker after providing pitch and weather information during a tour of Sri Lanka in 1994.

However, the ACB kept the story quiet and four years later it emerged amid a blizzard of headlines.

Warne is Australia's leading Test wicket-taker of all time and is just nine wickets short of becoming the first spinner in history to take 500 Test wickets.

Shane Warne takes 3 wickets

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