Anderson admitted to swearing at Jadeja
James Anderson was let off on the Level 3 charge of pushing Ravindra Jadeja during the Trent Bridge Test, but he admitted to having abused Jadeja, pushing him and acting in breach of the spirit of cricket. He also threatened to break Jadeja's teeth, the BCCI's counsel contended while appealing the sentence earlier handed to Jadeja by match referee David Boon. That sentence was successfully overturned during the hearing on Friday in Southampton.
These were two different but overlapping cases. The BCCI counsel took part in the appeal against Jadeja's sentence, but the case involving Anderson was pursued by the ICC's lawyer, as is the protocol for Level 3 charges. The BCCI counsel didn't get a chance to cross-examine Anderson during that main case but did so during the Jadeja appeal. The cross-examination was intense and aggressive, say those present, and began with the BCCI counsel addressing Anderson using some of the swear words allegedly used by the player, catching him by surprise.
The incident took place as the players were walking off for lunch on the second day of the Trent Bridge Test. Anderson had appealed for a catch at the wicket against Jadeja with the first ball of the over, after which he was seen having a word with Jadeja. Umpire Bruce Oxenford's witness statement said he intervened and asked Anderson to stop chirping. The chirping, though, continued. Anderson didn't contest the charge that he called Jadeja a "f***ing p**ck" and a "f***ing c**t".
What happened next, though, in the corridor leading to the dressing rooms had two different versions. India contended that Anderson abused Jadeja once again, in reaction to which he half-turned, and was then allegedly pushed by Anderson. England claimed Anderson acted in self-defence as Jadeja allegedly turned aggressively at Anderson. However, Anderson didn't contest MS Dhoni's statement as witness that he abused Jadeja again, and asked him to "go to his f***ing dressing room". This is also when he is said to have threatened to break Jadeja's teeth. Anderson was asked if he thought his actions were against the spirit of cricket. He said, "Yes."
With one man's word against another, the case came down to lack of video evidence of what happened in the corridor. The staircase outside the corridor, leading to the playing field, was monitored by the ACSU cameras. The staircase connecting the corridor and the dressing room, too, was monitored by the ICC cameras. There was a webcam in the corridor, but it was not ICC's, and it wasn't working on that day.
Anderson, who has gained a reputation of being overly aggressive on the field, has, however, little history of misconduct on his official record. He has been charged only once under the ICC's Code of Conduct, back in 2007.
Indeed this charge, too, wouldn't have been laid had England's attempts at negotiations with India succeeded. India's coach Duncan Fletcher testified during the hearing that Paul Downton, managing director of England cricket, tried to convince India to lay a Level 2 charge. The judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis, who presided over the case via video link from Australia, heard that Downton tried to convince Fletcher against taking such strong action. Fletcher said that when he didn't agree, Downton threatened him with a counter charge against Jadeja - a threat that was eventually carried out.
Once the BCCI insisted on laying the charge, it became the ICC's responsibility to prosecute. However, it didn't have enough evidence to get the verdict it sought. Lack of video evidence might have got Anderson off the Level 3 charge but what has raised eyebrows is that there has been no reprimand or a lower sentence. That, though, might be explained in the detailed verdict.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo