Mark Wood won’t believe corruption claims without seeing evidence

Bowler Mark Wood says the England players attend meetings before every big series, when they are told about 'the dos and don'ts'. Picture: Getty.
Bowler Mark Wood says the England players attend meetings before every big series, when they are told about 'the dos and don'ts'. Picture: Getty.
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Pace bowler Mark Wood has said allegations of corruption against unnamed England players are “like the boy who cried wolf”.

The Al Jazeera network released its second documentary about match-fixing on Sunday and, as in the previous programme first shown in May, there were claims made against England players.

The report alleged to have uncovered evidence of 26 planned spot-fixes in 15 international matches – including seven involving England players.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has been critical of the information that has been shared with it and says internal analysis has given no cause to doubt the integrity of any of its players, past or present.

Wood has not watched the show but believes the lack of detail is troubling.

“It’s a bit like the boy who cried wolf, and until they say something [definitive] I’m not going to believe what they say,” he said.

“[Not] until Al Jazeera bring out anything concrete, where they name someone or show a piece of evidence. They keep saying there’s this and that there, but never producing anyone or saying there’s any evidence behind it.

“Until they can produce something that I’m worried about then I don’t take any notice of it.”

England were given a briefing by the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit ahead of their current tour of Sri Lanka, part of an ongoing investigation on the island that has seen World Cup winner and former selector Sanath Jayasuriya charged.

The content of the briefing was nothing new to Wood, who believes players have all the information necessary to deal with any illegal approaches.

“We get one or two meetings a year, normally before every big series there’s a meeting,” he explained. “We had one before this series, a guy comes in and we speak about the dos and don’ts. Even if it’s not with England, if I’m with Durham or in India [at the IPL] there’s people you can talk to.

“The main thing they put across to you is if you see 
anything, even if it’s nothing, just report it. Luckily I’ve not had to do it yet but you’ve got the support network there if you need it.”

The ECB issued the following comments on Sunday following the documentary release: “Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration it has been properly assessed.

“Analysis of this by the ECB Integrity Team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former.”

Earlier this year the network’s allegations of a 
fixing plot in England’s 2016 Test against India in Chennai were described as “outrageous” by both head coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root.

The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) released a statement that joined the ECB and the International Cricket Council in calling on Al Jazeera to release any and all relevant information.

David Leatherdale, the PCA’s chief executive, said: “Further to the ECB’s statement on Sunday’s Al Jazeera programme, the Professional Cricketers’ Association has been working closely with the ECB and directly with the players to make sure they are aware of these unsupported accusations.

“The players refute all 
allegations and have the full support of the PCA.

“The PCA is urging the broadcaster to provide all footage and evidence to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit.”