In his new documentary, Australian great Shane Warne details the moment he was offered $276,000 to bowl poorly in a Test match.
Shane Warne was unwinding in his Karachi hotel room alongside Australian teammate Tim May when he got a phone call.
It was Pakistan captain Saleem Malik, and he tells the Aussie leg-spinner: “I need to see you.”
The 1994 Test between Australia and Pakistan was delicately poised on the evening of day four – the visitors needed a further seven wickets on the turning deck at Karachi’s National Stadium, while the hosts required another 160 runs for victory.
“We’re feeling pretty confident that we’re going to knock over Pakistan,” Warne recounts in his upcoming documentary Shane, which is in cinemas now and will be aired on Amazon Prime later this month.
“I knock on the door, Saleem Malik answers the door. I sit down, and he goes, ‘Good match we’ve got going’.
“I went, ‘Yep, I think we should win tomorrow though’.
“He goes, ‘Well we can’t lose …. you don’t understand what happens when we lose in Pakistan. Our houses will get burnt down, out family’s houses will get burnt down’.”
Warne then claims Malik offered himself and May US$200,000 ($AUD276,000) each to bowl wide of the stumps and try not to take any wickets on day five.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Warne says. “I just sort of sat there, stunned. And then I go, ‘F*** you, mate. We’re going to beat ya’.”
Warne hasn’t spoken a word to Malik since.
Malik was a Pakistan legend, scoring 15 centuries in 103 Tests. He plundered a further 7170 runs in the 50-over format.
But in 2000, Malik became the first player to be handed a lifelong ban from all forms of cricket for match-fixing.
“When you talk about match-fixing now, people hope it doesn’t go on,” Warne told news.com.au.
“Back in that time, 30 years ago, there was no talk about it. It had never raised its head anywhere in any sport.
“When he offered me that, it was a bit like, ‘What the hell?’ I was blown away, I didn’t know anything about it.
“It was a significant amount of money.”
Warne, who at the time was on an annual contract worth approximately AUD$25,000-30,000, told May about the six-figure bribe later that evening.
The South Australian tweaker’s first response was: “I don’t need extra money to bowl crap.”
Warne and May then informed Australian Test captain Mark Taylor and national coach Bob Simpson, who told match referee John Reid.
The Karachi Test finished in dramatic scenes, with Australian gloveman Ian Healy missing a stumping that went through his legs for four byes, gifting Pakistan the winning runs.
Inzamam-ul-Haq and No. 11 Mushtaq Ahmed had combined for an unbeaten 57-run partnership to steer Pakistan towards a remarkable one-wicket triumph.
It stood as the largest 10th-wicket partnership in the fourth innings of a Test victory for 25 years, until Kusal Perera and Ben Stokes rewrote the history books with Sri Lanka and England respectively in 2019.
“We never should have lost,” Warne said. “We had Inzamum plumb LBW a few times, Jo Angel did, and there were no neutral umpires then.”
Warne was named Player of the Match for his 8/150 from 63.1 overs, but the then-25-year-old was “shattered” with the outcome.
“We’re standing at the ceremony at the end,” Warne recalled. “I’m looking at the Pakistan group, and Saleem Malik’s just sort of sitting there with this smug look on his face, like, ‘You should have taken the cash’.”
Shane will screen for a limited time in Australian cinemas nationally from January 6, before it is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video from January 25.