April 20, 2000

Symcox rejected Mumbai match bribe bid

Centurion - Former South African all-rounder Pat Symcox said for him there was no argument: country and honour came before the money.

Symcox, an off-spinner and lower-order batsman told viewers of the weekly TV magazine programme, Extra Cover that there had only been one meeting about the $20,000 offered each player for the benefit match upgraded to a full international known as the Pepsi Trophy.

"If we had more than one meeting I would have known about it," he said.

"Then again, I would have asked why had I been excluded if there was a second meeting of the players to discuss the offer," he added.

The match was played in Mumbai at the end of the South African 1996/97 tour of India and was supposed to be a benefit for Mohinder Amarnath.

"You know, Andrew Hudson came out strongly against taking the money," said Symcox. "To us, when you pulled on the South African cap you went out to do your best. Offers of money did not come into it."

Co-hosting the show with Mike Haysman, Symcox said the side had rejected the $250,000 offer.

"It was a lot of money, but we were only interested in playing for the honour," he said.

"So you didn't want to take the money?" asked Haysman.

"No not at all... We discussed it and rejected it."

Each player was offered $20,000 each to throw the end of tour benefit match before it was "upgraded" to a full LOI status.

Symcox retired shortly before the squad for last year's World Cup squad was announced. Regarded as the sort of player with the Australian style of toughness, he agreed that taking money was "not in the best interests of the game" and felt the ICC probe into alleged match fixing was the right thing to do.

He also agreed with Steve Waugh's view that the game "needed cleaning up".