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Root, Bayliss slam 'outrageous' fixing claims
Corruption in Cricket

Root, Bayliss slam 'outrageous' fixing claims

England captain Joe Root and coach Trevor Bayliss both described allegations their side fixed aspects of a Test against India at Chennai in 2016 as "outrageous".

After England's nine-wicket defeat by Pakistan in the first Test at Lord's on Sunday, Root was asked to comment on the allegations made in a programme about spot-fixing to be broadcast later Sunday by the Al Jazeera television channel.

"I am aware that there is a documentary and it is outrageous that our players have been accused," Root told the BBC.

"It's not anything for the guys to worry about," said Root, who labelled the allegations "ridiculous".

"All the players have been briefed by the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), and been told there's absolutely nothing to worry about," Root insisted.

The top-order batsman put his faith in the International Cricket Council to judge the worth of the Al Jazeera documentary, adding: "I've just been told to strongly deny the accusations, because it sounds quite ridiculous really.

"It's for the ICC 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," Root insisted.

Bayliss was similarly forthright in a separate interview with Sky Sports.

"Outrageous," said the England coach, when asked about the fixing claims.

"I knew a documentary was going to be coming out. I wouldn't have a clue what's in it yet, or seen it.

"But, having been there (at the Chennai Test), outrageous is all I can say," the Australian added.

England lost that Test in Chennai by an innings and 75 runs.

Root and Bayliss's words were endorsed by ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, who said neither his organisation nor the ICC had "any credible evidence" of corruption involving England players.

"There is nothing we have seen that would make us doubt any of our players in any way whatsoever," Harrison said in a board statement issued Sunday.

"They emphatically deny the allegations, have stated categorically that the claims are false and they have our full support."

Harrison added: "Neither ECB nor the ICC is aware of any credible evidence connecting any England players to any form of corruption."

He went on to voice his frustration at not receiving a full copy of the documentary well in advance of transmission, or any unedited material the board could then share with the ICC.

It was a point echoed by Alex Marshall, the head of the ICC's anti-corruption unit.

Having seen the documentary and launched an investigation, Marshall said: "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.

"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 unedited 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."

Both the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India said they fully supported the ICC's efforts to rid the game of corruption.

Meanwhile Sunday also saw Sri Lanka Cricket suspend a player and a groundsman who, according to Al Jazeera, allegedly agreed to tamper with the pitch to alter the result of an upcoming Test against England as police announced they would an investigate the claims.

The documentary also alleged the Chennai fixture had fallen prey to spot-fixing, where specific incidents in games can be manipulated to achieve betting coups without corrupting one side or another to lose on purpose.

The programme also contained allegations of match-fixing in games featuring both England and Australia in Sri Lanka.