Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England captain Joe Root and head coach Trevor Bayliss have denied allegations that spot-fixing occurred during the team’s Test match against India in Chennai in 2016.
The claims were made in an Al Jazeera documentary called “Cricket’s Match Fixers“.
The documentary revolves around how an India-based member of a criminal syndicate fixed the results of some matches and certain sections of other games. This included the Test match between India and England in Chennai.
England lost the match, which was the fifth Test of the series, by an innings and 75 runs as India batsman Karun Nair scored an unbeaten 303.
When asked about the allegations following his side’s nine-wicket loss to Pakistan at Lord’s, Root was quoted by BT Sport as saying: “I’ve been made aware there’s a documentary going out. All the players have been briefed by the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), and been told there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
“I’ve just been told to strongly deny the accusations, because it sounds quite ridiculous really. As a group of players we’ve got to focus on (the second Test) next week, making sure we prepare well, and let the people in charge look after this – because I’m sure it’s nothing.”
Root added that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will have to look into the documentary and ascertain whether there is enough proof to back up the claims made.
“(ECB officials) have seen the documentary,” Root said. “It’s for the ICC (International Cricket Council) to sort out – they’re the people in charge – and if there’s anything to it they’ll look into it.
“But I’ve been told there’s nothing to worry about, and we’ve just got to concentrate on cricket and make sure we get ready for next week.”Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Bayliss, meanwhile, insisted that there was nothing to suggest any illegal activities had taken place.
“Outrageous. I knew a documentary was going to be coming out. I wouldn’t have a clue what’s in it yet, or seen it,” he told Sky Sports. “But, having been there [at the Chennai Test], outrageous is all I can say.”
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison insisted that the board are backing all the players. He added that the ECB and ICC have yet to receive any concrete evidence to implicate any players in the alleged spot-fixing that occurred.
“There is nothing we have seen that would make us doubt any of our players in any way whatsoever,” he said in a statement. “The limited information we have been given has been discussed with all the England players.
“They emphatically deny the allegations, have stated categorically that the claims are false – and they have our full support.
“Neither ECB nor the ICC is aware of any credible evidence connecting any England players to any form of corruption. ECB had been aware of the planned Al Jazeera documentary for some time but have not been given the full content.
“There have been repeated requests for any evidence and unedited materials to be shared with the ICC so they can fully investigate.
“We, like other member boards, are disappointed that Al Jazeera have not been more co-operative and responsible when making such serious allegations.
“ECB has a regular dialogue with the ICC and its anti-corruption unit, fully supports its work and will continue to co-operate with their review.”
Alex Marshall, the ICC’s General Manager – Anti-corruption Unit, revealed that the global governing body has seen the documentary, and added that all the claims made are now being investigated.
“The ICC has now had the opportunity to view the documentary into corruption in cricket and as we have previously stated, we are taking the contents of the programme and the allegations it has made extremely seriously,” he said in a statement. “A full investigation led by the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, working with full cooperation from all Member countries identified in the programme, is now underway to examine each claim made.”
However, Marshall pointed out that Al Jazeera have continuously refused to share all the raw evidence with the ICC.
“We have been in ongoing dialogue with the broadcaster which has refused our continual requests to cooperate and share information which has hampered our investigation to date,” he said. “The content of the programme, is of course useful to the investigation, but I would now urge the production team to provide us with all un-edited and unseen evidence they are in possession of, to enable us to expedite a thorough investigation.
“Given this is a live investigation and one that is likely to be subject to the legal process, it is not possible to provide any further comment.
“Our Anti-Corruption Unit is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket and would urge anyone with any information to contact us in strictest confidence via firstname.lastname@example.org.”