India in England 2014 July 16, 2014

Anderson charge is India 'tactic' - Cook

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England's captain Alastair Cook has dismissed allegations made against James Anderson by the Indian team as "a tactic" designed to sideline him in the Investec Test series.

Anderson, the England swing bowler, has been charged with a Level 3 offence under the terms of the ICC's code of conduct following an incident on the second day of the Trent Bridge Test in which he is alleged to have become involved in an off-field altercation with India allrounder Ravindra Jadeja. If the charge is upheld, Anderson could be suspended for anything up to four Tests.

Cook expressed surprise that the exchange had generated such a serious response, describing it as "a big mountain out of a molehill".

Instead, despite admitting he did not see the incident, Cook suggested that India might be exaggerating the seriousness of it in order that Anderson could be forced out of the series.

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.

"It is probably a tactic from India," Cook said. "He is a stalwart of our side and he is an outstanding bowler with a fantastic record."

Asked whether the nub of the incident was India's desire "not to have Anderson in the England team," Cook replied: "Yes, I think so. That's pretty much where this has come from. Hopefully we get the ball swinging and James Anderson will want to let his cricket do the talking."

The problem for Anderson and England is that he has not always been happy to let only his cricket do the talking. Cook admitted that the latest incident could be the result of mounting irritation at Anderson's sledging of opposition batsmen, but added that any charge should be judged solely on the incident at issue.

"We're surprised it has come to this situation," he said. "We're surprised it's a Level 3 incident. It's a big mountain out of a molehill, if I'm being totally honest. But I will sound a bit like Arsene Wenger and say I didn't see it. I genuinely didn't.

"I don't think I'll tell him to tone it down. We have a responsibility as players never to cross the line. In the heat of battle, with emotions up, there have probably been situations in everyone's career where they look back and say 'I wish I hadn't done that.' But I don't think that is the case here.

"I like it when Jimmy is in that battle. I know he is up for it; he is desperate to do well for England and people watching get behind him and see a very competitive guy and I think they enjoy it."

Cook and his India counterpart, MS Dhoni, now find themselves in charge of a potentially fractious Test series. "I hope it won't sour relations," Cook said. "Both MS Dhoni and I have a responsibility as captains to make sure we control our players and not to let that happen. We have a responsibility to people watching and a responsibility under the ICC rules. I think it will make for good viewing."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • android_user on July 20, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    Anderson don't have control over players under him.poor captain comes to defend after issue happened

  • JaranNirsi on July 18, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    So this is how the cookie crumbles... Pathetic batting, uninspiring leadership, and baseless accusations at his opposite number, followed by a statement that the two captains are responsible for maintaining harmony between the two teams during the remainder of the series. Wonder why England persist with Cook. And don't they have a better 'keeper? Really? Anderson is still a great swing bowler, in English conditions. He will be taken to the cleaners in india/Sri Lanka just as he was down under.

  • dummy4fb on July 18, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    @Deuce03 : Mitchell Johnson started his career in a team that was in patchy form, played in a lot of losing tests and consistently picked even when out of form. His average is less than 30.

  • Deuce03 on July 17, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    @Front_Foot_Lunge etc. How has such a poor bowler got Tendulkar out more times than anyone else? Or amassed such good records over the last four-five years? Or taken 4-54 against India today? If you look at his career trajectory he averaged over 35 or so for the first few years then well under 30 for the last four. Yes, he was, or could be, a poor bowler for several years, but that doesn't reflect his current ability, because mean average is a blunt measure. He's among the very best fast bowlers around at the moment and has been for some time.

  • wolf777 on July 17, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    This is a lame defense. He should first want to see the evidence. If the incident in fact happened as alleged, it shows Cook's leadership failure. He has to control his players so that he does not lose a senior player to such incident.

  • dummy4fb on July 17, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    This might not be a big issue, but I guess Alastair Cook is also taking it in the wrong direction. Its outrageous to suggest that this is being done to oust Anderson from the series. Is he such a dangerous bowler or does it suggest that other bowlers are lesser than him? In that case India shouldn't have come to England at all. Lol. My own opinion is to let go off this issue so that we can enjoy the series to the fullest. We would prefer to win against the strongest bowling team coz that will be more satisfying for any team representing their country.

  • Chanred on July 17, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    Cook's statement is under estimating India's batting prowess and Exaggerating Anderson's effectiveness in much the same way as he is exaggerating his own captaincy skills and batting form. Step down skip, both as capt and opener.

  • balajik1968 on July 17, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    I did not expect Cook to be so lacking in tact. His comments after the Buttler incident; now this. He is souring up the relationship with the other team; first SL, now India. If he continues like this, he could end up rubbing every other team the wrong way. The English management had better tell Cook to watch his words.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 17, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    @duece03, nonsense. Lara never played in a particularly strong team and his stats look pretty good. Likewise KP has the honour of 2 Ashes whitewashes on his CV and he went alright. The Flower brothers did alright too. Anderson has a mediocre average because he is mediocre. His returns for the last 12 months have been poor. He started his career poorly because he was poor. Recently, tail Enders have been dispatching him for sixes into the crowd. Any questions?

  • KrisDonald on July 17, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    @Blal If the win would have no meaning, then England's last win against India in England has no meaning since Zaheer got injured on the first day of the first test

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