Root fit for England's opening ODI against Australia

Root fit for England's opening ODI against Australia

Joe Root carrying drinks
Autralia v England – first ODI
Venue: Melbourne Date: 14 January (03.20 GMT)
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

England batsman Joe Root is fit to play in Sunday’s first one-day international against Australia in Melbourne after recovering from a viral illness.

The 27-year-old Test captain, who was taken to hospital with gastroenteritis on the final day of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney, missed Thursday’s warm-up win over a Cricket Australia XI.

Limited overs captain Eoin Morgan said: “Joe should be fit to play.

“He’s a versatile player who can score in any strike-rate that is required.”

Root has scored 4,000 ODI runs at an average of 50 with a strike-rate of 87.05 runs per 100 balls faced.

“He’s extremely important,” Morgan added. “He’s been a fantastic leader within the group and, on top of that, there’s the weight of runs he’s scored and the manner that he’s scored them.”

No further clues were given as to the starting XI for the first of five ODI matches, although Morgan did hint that all three openers – Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Alex Hales – could feature.

“Our batting has been our strength over the last couple of years and we don’t want to compromise that, so it’ll be a case of picking our strongest six, plus an all-rounder possibly, or an extra seamer,” said Morgan.

The match starts at 03:20 GMT in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Root is aiming to make his Indian Premier League debut later this year, according to competition organisers. He is among more than 1,000 players hoping to be bought by a franchise at auction on 27 and 28 January.

In total, 282 overseas players have put their names forward for the auction, including 26 English players such as Morgan and Ben Stokes.

Teams:

England (from): J Bairstow, J Roy, A Hales, J Root, E Morgan (c), J Buttler (wkt) M Ali, C Woakes, A Rashid, L Plunkett, M Wood, S Billings, J Ball, T Curran, D Malan, D Willey.

Australia (from): S Smith (c), P Cummins, A Finch, T Head, M Marsh, T Paine (wkt), J Richardson, M Starc, M Stoinis, A Tye, D Warner, C White, A Zampa.

Umpires: C Gaffaney (NZ), S Fry (Aus)

Third umpire: S Ravi (Ind)

Match referee: R Madugalle (SL)

Published at Sat, 13 Jan 2018 08:49:35 +0000

'Serious threat' to Russian whistleblower's life

Grigory Rodchenkov
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app.

The whistleblower whose evidence led to Russia’s ban from next month’s Winter Olympics is preparing to testify against those involved – even though his life is under “serious threat”, his lawyer says.

Former Russian anti-doping official Grigory Rodchenkov fled to the United States after his allegations about a state-sponsored doping programme.

Russia was banned from the Games after Rodchenkov’s claims were investigated – though athletes who can prove they are clean can compete as neutrals.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has handed life bans to 43 athletes involved in the doping programme – though 42 of those have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Their cases will be looked at in the coming weeks and Rodchenkov’s lawyer, Jim Walden, says his client will likely give evidence at the hearings.

Walden told BBC Radio 5 live that the threat to Dr Rodchenkov – who was director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during Sochi 2014 – from Russian retaliation needs to be taken “very seriously”.

He added: “We know that Dr Rodchenkov is at the top of the Russian hate list. We know that at least one official has called for Dr Rodchenkov’s execution.”

But Rodchenkov is still preparing to at testify at the Cas hearings of the athletes and that of Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and former sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also banned for his alleged part in the doping scandal.

“He’s very focused on what he needs to do in the next several weeks,” Walden said.

“Grigory is expected to testify at both proceedings. He’s focused on preparing for that. After he gets through these, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure he’s safe.”

Following previous claims that Rodchenkov also has information about doping in football, Walden told BBC Radio 5 live that Fifa, the sport’s world governing body, “is considering whether to hire an independent investigator” to look into claims Russia’s alleged state-sponsored doping programme included football players.

Russia is hosting the World Cup this summer – though Mutko recently stood down from the tournament’s organising committee to focus on contesting his ban.

‘IOC chief should resign’

Also speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Bryan Fogel – the film-maker whose Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary Icarus also helped to expose Russia’s alleged state-sponsored doping programme – called on IOC president Thomas Bach to resign.

“The damage to the Olympic movement is unfathomable,” Fogel said. “We have to start asking ourselves, why are we having these Olympics? What point are these Olympics other than for a lot of people to make a lot of money at the expense of clean athletes?

“When faced with the biggest scandal in Olympic history – a 40-year-scandal that calls into question the entire history of the Olympic Games – how do they act? They act by giving Russia a slap on the wrist.

“The worldwide community should be calling for the resignation of Thomas Bach. The leadership at the IOC is not the leadership the world should be having if these Games are going to continue.”

The BBC has requested a response from both the IOC and Fifa.

Published at Sat, 13 Jan 2018 10:51:49 +0000