India in England 2014 August 3, 2014

Anderson admitted to swearing at Jadeja


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Hopps: Anderson must question his behaviour

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pranav on August 4, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    So I think Cricket should adopt a red card/yellow card theme. Where as in FIFA, players fake their falls and hits and stuff, cricket doesn't really have this. There will mainly be verbal altercations, in which at times when they dont cross a line is fine, but when they do a yellow card is handed out to either the batsman or bowler, a 2nd offence within 5 matches (regardless of format) an instant red card is handed out. Umpires will have to be aware of a players previous cards and if a red card is handed out, that player can not field, bowl or bat and is automatically off the field, if a batsman receives the card, he is automatically out and can not field or bowl. There is a downside, if the batsman has already bowled/fields and bats last, it will not have as big an effect but they will be automatically out. The Pollard/Starc issue during IPL, both players receive a Red card instantly. Pollard out/Starc off the field.

  • Maksud on August 4, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    Well Said Phil Wood, I totally agree with you.

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    Both teams and officials should say a pledge in public to behave in a dignified manner and not do anything to sully the spirit of the game before a match starts. Things are being taken too far. Being competitive should not be equated to being mean spirited. If a player sledges and uses bad language in particular it is not only a reflection of just that person but also his family and upbringing. There should be stiff penalties for violators.

  • S on August 3, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Jadeja turned around 'aggressively'? ECB filed a Level 2 offence for turning around? Abusing, pushing is the same as turning around ?

    I also feel that once the players leave the field, they should not indulge in any sort of sledging. A lot of the players say that they have no quarrels off the field, and some are even friends off the field. If sledging is to be continued to be allowed in the game, it should be restricted to on-field. You cannot draft rules for sledging, but at least the media-pundits should highlight this point.

    Anderson has lost of Indian fans like me due to this incident.

  • John on August 3, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    If it's part of the game we should not be deprived of hearing it in our living rooms. Turn up the stump mikes . Let's hear what our sporting heroes have to say to their rivals.

  • John on August 3, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    I reckon Anderson has been experiencing a fair bit of frustration lately and, although that doesn't excuse his behaviour, it might go a long way to explaining it. England's bowlers have been doing a pretty good job for quite a while but have been let down severely by their fielders for a long while and their batsmen more recently. Even in Australia, the bowlers started out well and did enough to get England into a strong and possibly winning position. The batsmen obviously just folded in the face of Mitchell Johnson's admittedly very good bowling though. In Adelaide, the bowlers got them into a strong position again but then any chance they had of getting themselves back into the series was lost due to dropped catches. By Perth, the Australian batsmen were completely emboldened by the knowledge that there was no pressure on them because the bowlers would win them the game regardless. This summer, even the bowlers have finally been poor and that would be hard to take.

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    It is the part and parcel of the game. Looking forward to Manchester, this will be one of the finest battle

  • Roderick on August 3, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    @nalapogunev: It's already in The Laws: "Law 42 Fair and unfair play - responsibility of captains - The responsibility lies with the captains for ensuring that play is conducted within the spirit and traditions of the game, as described in The Preamble - The Spirit of Cricket, as well as within the Laws."

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    Any foul language against any player in any game is not acceptable. Yellow and red card system is very well mentioned. BCCI should push for it on ICC. Amount of money invvolved in sports these days means penalty should be harcer too.

  • ESPN on August 3, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Anderson wasn't "let off". He was found "not guilty" of the charge. There is an important difference.

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