India dismay at Anderson verdict
India are shocked that James Anderson has been found not guilty in the Trent Bridge incident involving Ravindra Jadeja, but the case boiled down to one team's word against the other when it became clear crucial video evidence was not available.
The alleged pushing incident took place in the only small corridor that was not monitored by the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) cameras, a fact the BCCI is now likely to raise with the ICC. There was no video evidence presented by the ICC, who was prosecuting Anderson in this case, to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Anderson had pushed Jadeja without provocation. However, once the BCCI had laid the charge, the ICC had no option but to take up the case against Anderson.
Anderson has admitted to pushing Jadeja - by the fact that the ECB did not contest that element of Jadeja's initial hearing - but his case rested on his version that he acted in self-defence after Jadeja allegedly turned around aggressively towards him. The BCCI lawyers were present at the hearing, but they were allowed to cross-examine the witnesses only in the appeal against the guilty verdict for Jadeja, which they got overturned successfully.
England added Stuart Broad to the witnesses that appeared in the Jadeja hearing: Matt Prior and Ben Stokes. India had their physiotherapist, Evan Speechly, present at the case in addition to Gautam Gambhir and R Ashwin. The hearing went on for over six hours, but some of the time went into sorting technical glitches with the judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis sitting in on the hearing via video link from Australia.
The incident happened as the players were walking off for lunch on the second day of the Trent Bridge Test. In the last over before lunch, Jadeja had survived an appeal for a catch at the wicket off the bowling of Anderson, after which the bowler was seen having a word with Jadeja. The chirping continued on the way back to the pavilion. The players walked up the stairs through the crowd, then into a narrow corridor - where the incident is said to have happened - and then through a staircase into the individual changing rooms.
The ICC's ACSU camera captured the players walking up the stairs through the crowd, and Speechly coming down the staircase from the dressing room with Dhoni at the edge of the steps. The said video was played at the hearing. However, there is no footage from the corridor that connects the two staircases. Witnesses present at the hearing confirmed that the incident took place in that corridor. The BCCI is going to take up with the ICC the issue of this area not being covered by the ACSU, but ESPNcricinfo could not independently verify if this corridor indeed is a Players and Match Officials (PMO) area, which has to be monitored by the ICC.
There was a camera in place there, but it is not clear if the camera was the ICC's or Nottinghamshire's or the host broadcaster's. At times in England, during the Lord's Test against South Africa in 2012 for example, Sky TV has shown players walking out from just outside their dressing room all the way through the long room and corridors and onto the field. The commissioner heard that the said camera at Trent Bridge was not working that day. The BCCI is likely to pursue this issue.
At the current moment, the fact remains that there is no video evidence of what happened in the corridor. That being the case, it all came down to one team's word against the other. India remained adamant that Jadeja was not at fault, and that he did not turn around aggressively, and was only reacting to abuse from Anderson. That was the reason why they appealed the earlier guilty verdict against Jadeja, and got it overturned.
Anderson admitted to having had an altercation with Jadeja, but contended he did so in self-defence. The witnesses put up by England were consistent in their response. They were called in to testify separately, and ESPNcricinfo understands their versions were almost identical.
A detailed judgement is yet to be delivered, and the BCCI refused to comment until it had seen the detailed verdict. However, it has no right to appeal because it was the ICC's case once the charge was laid. The only man who has the right to appeal now is Dave Richardson, the ICC CEO.
If he does appeal, the ICC's legal head will appoint an Appeal Panel comprising three members from the ICC's Code of Conduct commission. However, Lewis' decision will remain in effect while under appeal, unless the Appeal Panel orders otherwise.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo