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Thursday, July 17, 2014

spat involving Jimmy Anderson & Ravi Jadeja ~ twist by Alastair Cook - cool MSD

The 1st Investec Test at Trentbridge ended in a draw ~ but appears –far from over … Cricket is played differently by different teams on field - Australians perhaps feel proud of their brash behaviour and sledging… English men are no saint …. but ……. would expect play by spirit of the game, when it is advantageous to them. Indians and especially Dhoni at helm are not known to playing cricket in this confrontational manner. At Trent Bridge, three years ago, MSD  called back Ian Bell, who was well and fairly run out. In an ODI in Brisbane in 2011-12, they retracted a mankading appeal against Lahiru Thirimanne, who continued to back up too far in the same match, and whose team-mates incidentally mankaded an England batsman earlier this English summer.

The Lord’s Test begins with  a different background from the 1st test which was drawn.  The Test series exploded with ill-feeling on Tuesday night when Jimmy Anderson was charged with a physical assault on Ravindra Jadeja. The sensational claim revolves around an incident between the pair as they left the field for lunch on the second day of the first Test at Trent Bridge. Anderson is alleged to have pushed and verbally abused the India all-rounder and could face a ban of up to four Tests after being charged with a serious Level Three offence under the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct.  James Anderson could miss two to four, Ravindra Jadeja could miss one. In the recently developed bonhomie, both  might someday play for the same IPL team. An ICC lawyer travelled to England, but could not broker peace, and later the charge became official. The next day, England responded with a level 2 charge against Jadeja. With video evidence lacking, India's witnesses have been Gautam Gambhir and R Ashwin. Both the sides are claiming off the record to have at least one clinching neutral witness on their side.  This is the first time an international player has been charged with a level 3 offence since 2007-08 when Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds collided.   Anderson allegedly pushed Jadeja who had allegedly turned around suddenly in an aggressive manner. There had been continuous sledging in the last over before lunch when Jadeja survived an lbw shout.

It is stated that England’s key bowler exchanged words with both Jadeja and India captain MS Dhoni as they left the field and then the row escalated in the pavilion corridor. India are adamant that Anderson instigated the physical clash but England counter that Jadeja was just as aggressive and had to be pulled away by Dhoni. Both sides settled down to lunch and England thought nothing more of it until they received a phone call from India coach Duncan Fletcher, who used to be in charge of England, on Monday saying they were pushing for the ban.

Alastair Cook gave it a new dimension stating that they believe India want to push for a ban on Anderson because he is such a key figure in this series and are prepared to ‘sacrifice’ Jadeja, their second-choice spinner and a lower middle order batsman, in exchange. The ICC will now appoint a Judicial Commissioner who will compile evidence over the next 14 days, meaning there is no danger of Anderson being banned for Thursday’s second Test nor the third match at the Ageas Bowl. One could recall that down under - Stuart Broad edges an Ashton Agar delivery to Aussie captain Michael Clarke at first slip. Incredibly, umpire Aleem Dar failed to spot the huge nick, Broad stood his ground and Aussies made a mockery of Broad not walking out …  while India withdrew mankading – at Edgbaston, Lankan Sachithra Senanayake —  ran out  Jos Buttler – though this was well within the rule, England made big hue of it.

Cook is on record stating that the exchange had generated such a serious response, describing it as "a big mountain out of a molehill". He also insisted that he would not be asking Anderson to tone down his behaviour and suggested his leading fast bowler was probably at his best when he is emotionally involved in the game. Anderson again is no saint and on earlier occasions too has expressed his irritation by sledging the opposition batsmen.  It is their attitude, their sledging, their media, their perception that others would always take it lying down - England side is universally unpopular almost across the globe. Joel Garner had the reputation of being able to maintain a tight line and length without sledging; Malcolm Marshall seemed to make the ball swing without whispering in the ear of the batsmen ~ and Courtney Walsh generously allowed the runner to be back in the crease with a warning.   It is a fallacy to suggest the best players need to engage in the orchestrated appeals, the theatrical displays of disappointment, the sledging and posturing.

Within hours of Alastair Cook’s suggestion of India trying to eliminate their best bowler,  MS Dhoni sought to bring attention back to who the victim - so to speak - was.  Cricinfo reports that Dhoni spent the first half of the press conference trying to laugh off questions and repeatedly citing legal requirements to not speak about the incident in detail, but when told of Cook's insinuation, he opened up a little bit. "It's not something that we have done," Dhoni said, showing the first signs of stress. Dhoni appreciated how Jadeja handled the incident, not losing his cool and becoming a victim of what he says has in the past been the opposition's ploy to unsettle their players. Dhoni insisted on following the guidelines that bar physical contact.

While Cook sought to twist, Former India captain Sunil Gavaksar feels some "action is due". The Judicial Commission needs to come in with necessary investigation," Gavaskar told NDTV today. Gavaskar apprehended that this incident could be one party's word against the other. "What happened in the lead-up to the dressing room is something that even TV cameras won't be able to spot. So it will be one man's word against the other," he commented.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

17th July 2014.

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