Watson asks fellow players to clear their names

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 12, 2011 13:20 hrs

Sydney: All-rounder Shane Watson feels his countrymen Nathan Bracken and Ricky Ponting must clear their name at the earliest following bookie Mazhar Majeed's startling claim that Australian cricketers are the biggest "fixers" in world cricket.

Majeed made the claim against Australian players in his secretly recorded conversation with an undercover reporter of defunct News of the World. The recording of the conversation was played in the ongoing spot-fixing trial of Pakistan's Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif at a London court.

In the tape, Majeed specifically mentions his proximity to fast bowler Nathan Bracken and former captain Ricky Ponting, who have already denied the accusation.

Watson, who is with the Australian squad in South Africa, said fixing charges question the integrity of the players and they must come out with solid evidence to prove their innocence.

"Absolutely it does (question integrity) and it is unbelievably disappointing," Watson was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

CA says match-fixing claims about Aussie players 'outlandish'

"There is no doubt that if my name came up in that as well, especially when you know exactly how much you give every time you play and you are only there to get the best out of yourself and perform.

"If your integrity gets questioned there is no doubt you have to do everything you can to make sure you do clear your name because the majority of people who play sport and play cricket give everything to it.

"When that is questioned (integrity) it is really just a huge question on your character and you have got to try and clear your name as soon as you can."

Watson himself was accused of spot fixing during the World Cup in the sub-continent but the charge was instantly rubbished by the Australian team.

Watson feels even these uncorroborated accusation is hugely damaging to players' credibility.

"They have been 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.

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

"It challenges the integrity of the game we all love so much.

"People not just in cricket but outside cricket start to question certain things that
happen in games.

"In sport, crazy events sometimes do happen. You never want people questioning what exactly is going on so it is very disappointing when these things come out," said Watson.

More from Sify: