Cricket: Hollioake was betting target

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND HAVE admitted that Adam Hollioake was a target for illegal bookmakers attempting to pull off a betting coup at the Champions' Cup in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, a year ago.

Hollioake, who led England to victory in the two-week tournament, claims he was contacted twice by illegal bookmakers wanting information about weather, pitch conditions, team line-ups and tactics during the two-week tournament.

The Surrey all-rounder refused to co-operate and reported the approaches to David Graveney, the chairman of selectors. Graveney said: "Adam got a fax in our Sharjah hotel regarding the team but he did the right thing and reported it. In the current climate you can't be too careful."

Hollioake said: "The first time I was contacted I assumed the guy was a reporter. He rang me in my hotel room and started asking me questions about the pitch, the team and what we would do if we won the toss. I became suspicious and asked him what newspaper he worked for. He replied, `No, no, I am not a reporter. I am making a book.' I told him where to get off. The next night another man contacted me. He referred me to the previous contact with his colleague and starting asking all sorts of questions about tactics and so forth. When I said I was not going to help him he became aggressive.

"Then, he told me if I co- operated he would make me a millionaire. I told him he was wasting his time.

"I am convinced that none of my team was involved in any wrongdoing but suspicions have been raised about what went on during the tournament and they have taken the gloss off our success. I would hate to think we did not win the trophy fair and square."

The revelations come at the end of a week in which Australia's Shane Warne and Mark Waugh admitted they were fined in 1995 for taking money from an Indian bookmaker for giving similar information.

Meanwhile, England's problems continue in Adelaide after another batting collapse on the third day.