India contest Stokes, Prior testimonies
Though Ravindra Jadeja was found guilty of an offence lesser than the one he was charged with - Level 1 instead of Level 2 - India are adamant their allrounder did no wrong and should not have been fined 50% of his match fee. ESPNcricinfo understands that at the hearing England witnesses, Ben Stokes and Matt Prior, suggested to match referee David Boon that Jadeja had turned threateningly towards James Anderson, and the England fast bowler had acted in self defence. Anderson's case - a hearing into a Level 3 charge - will be heard on August 1.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that Prior contended Jadeja's bat was raised dangerously when he turned towards Anderson, and Stokes suggested Jadeja had pushed Anderson first. India claim Jadeja neither touched nor swore at anyone.
The incident happened on day two of the Trent Bridge Test. Anderson had a caught-behind appeal against Jadeja turned down in the last over before lunch, and as the players walked off, past the field and the narrow staircase between the pavilion and the field, more words were believed to have been exchanged.
There is another narrow passage inside the pavilion, which both teams have to take before parting ways to their dressing rooms, and the incident happened there as opposed to the popular view that it happened in the staircase.
Sources claim England's case at the hearing centred on Jadeja allegedly instigating Anderson by turning around. India claimed Jadeja only turned around after he was allegedly sworn at once again. Dhoni specifically said in the press conference before the third Test that Jadeja's bat had stayed tucked under his arm all through. The stewards present claim not to have seen the push and India were unhappy about the security cameras not working on that day.
India's unmoving stand in this case is fascinating because it could possibly threaten the newly formed alliance between the BCCI and ECB. This tour has been amicable on the administrative front - the ECB has not, for example, mentioned DRS even once. The team sees this incident in isolation.
India see a minor victory in Jadeja's hearing, in that England in effect agreed that Anderson did push Jadeja. On the eve of the third Test, Dhoni called Boon's verdict hurtful and negligent. In his verdict, Boon had said he was "not comfortably satisfied" that Jadeja's role amounted to a Level 2 charge, and punished him for a Level 1 offence. The allrounder was found guilty of "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo