ECB offered to investigate Anderson
James Anderson could have been dealt a sterner sanction than the not guilty verdict in the official hearing about the incident with Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge if India had been willing to continue negotiations with the ECB. However, India would have had to take back the original Level 3 charge against Anderson.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that after India officially levelled the charge against Anderson, talks between ECB and BCCI officials about the possibility of ECB resolving the matter through an ECB internal disciplinary process collapsed in the face of BCCI demands for a minimum sanction of a two-Test suspension for Anderson.
There were also talks between Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, and Duncan Fletcher, the India coach. While a BCCI official alleges that Downton offered to 'rest' Anderson for one Test in the current series if the charges were withdrawn, and then threatened the counter-charge which was ultimately laid against Jadeja when the offer was declined, that is strongly denied by Downton and the ECB.
They insist that no offers were made as there could be no presumption of Anderson's guilt ahead of the disciplinary process.
While the BCCI has interpreted such offers of settlement as an admission of guilt, the judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis, who heard the case, did not make a mention of the Downton-Fletcher exchange when arriving at the not-guilty verdict. Other than that, with no video or audio evidence available and vastly conflicting and "hopelessly biased" witness accounts provided by both sides, Lewis said he had no choice but to acquit both Anderson and Jadeja.
The incident took place the second day of the first Test of the series, when both the sides were walking off for lunch. India alleged that Anderson abused Jadeja continuously and then pushed him when Jadeja "half-turned" to look at the man abusing him from behind. England did not deny that Anderson pushed Jadeja, but said he did so in instinctive self-defence. The webcam in the corridor where the incident took place was not on that day.
The ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson, has until August 10 to appeal against Lewis' ruling and he is the only person who has the right to appeal.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo; Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor