India v England, 4th Test, Mumbai, 5th day December 12, 2016

Anderson-Ashwin confrontation 'disappointing' - Cook


Play 03:04
Trott: Saw frustration from Anderson's side

A confrontation between James Anderson and R Ashwin provided a "sour end" to the fourth Test in Mumbai, according to Alastair Cook.

Anderson, England's last batsman, received quite the welcome party when he walked out to bat in the dying moments of the match. Ashwin, in particular, appeared to have taken exception to his comments on the fourth evening that seemed, at best, grudgingly respectful of Virat Kohli's dominance, and accompanied him for much of his walk to the middle. While it is unclear exactly what was said, it seems safe to assume Ashwin was not offering his full support. Play was delayed briefly before Kohli and umpire Marais Erasmus stepped in to ensure order was restored.

The England camp felt Anderson's comments were, in Cook's words, "blown out of proportion". But while Cook accepted Ashwin and his team-mates were "sticking up for their captain" he still described the episode as unnecessary and disappointing.

"It was a bit of a sour end really," Cook said. "It was a disappointing end in terms of how well the spirit between both sides has been played.

"It was clearly in reference to what Jimmy said yesterday which has kind of been blown out of all proportions, which it can do here. He was just stating a fact which if you asked Virat is probably quite true. But yes, it was obviously just sticking up for their captain which I thought was slightly unnecessary."

Kohli was more relaxed about the incident and confirmed that he had made his peace with Anderson and agreed to "move on".

"For the first time I was trying to calm things down in the middle at a time when [Anderson] is involved," he said. "Ashwin wasn't pleased with what he said in the press, but I didn't even know about it. So I didn't know what to make of it. I was laughing about it.

"Ashwin wasn't too impressed and he let him know, not using any bad words honestly. I think he told him he was pretty disappointed with what he said and it is important to accept defeat as it is. Things like that. Just general, you know how Ashwin is, he is to the point, he can really strike you well and he doesn't need to say bad words. Later on I told James these things happen and let's move on."

While Kohli said he was "not going to sit here and comment about someone else's faults" he had already expressed his views. Having suggested England's batsmen lacked "intent" as they battled to save the Test in Visakhapatnam, he told Star Sports after this match that England had played too expansively as they were "not so confident of their defence".

He may well have a point. Just as Anderson may have had a point about Kohli's record in England and Parthiv Patel may have had a point about the limitations of England's spinners and the early struggles of Jos Buttler in the first innings of this game. The way in which these views are expressed, which sometimes seems intended to goad the opposition, is the issue.

But there is history between these teams. India felt England's behaviour towards them was poor on the tour of 2014 - in particular, the alleged incident between Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja was never satisfactorily resolved from an Indian perspective - and England can feel their proud record against India crumbling by the moment.

Either way, it all seems unnecessary. India have proved themselves the better side. No amount of comment will change the scoreline.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Venkatesh on December 15, 2016, 7:58 GMT

    Thats such a load of rubbish @ROHANMARKJAY. You say "Anderson maybe a sledger but that's mostly in England where he is lethal" and also "India dominated this series and there was no need for the bad behaviour". So its OK for Anderson to say things when he's doing well in England and its not Ok for Ashwin to do so? Bit confused aren't we? Fact of the matter is that Ashwin didn't go after Anderson for anything other than what Anderson said (which he did only to disparage Kohli). Anderson got what was coming to him. And this has nothing to do with "Indian cricket fans outnumbering England fans 9 to 1". Its just a fact.

  • Daya on December 15, 2016, 6:17 GMT

    Ashwin, according to Kohli, conveyed his disappointment to Anderson for what he had said earlier in a press conference. There was no harsh words or sledging, he probably told him, 'It was disappointing to hear that from you, we expected your side to accept the defeat with grace...'. Ashwin is a well versed man, and he knows what he is speaking! Im 100 percent sure he wasn't sledging!

  • Daya on December 15, 2016, 6:11 GMT

    @GREENBOUNCYSPIN: Bang on!! You articulated what I thought!. It was pretty naive of Cook to make that statement as well! Its true that Things were blown out of proportion! But due credit must be given to the player who has been absolutely terrific throughout the series!. Same Anderson was considered "Difference between the sides" in the 2012 series! That's the spirir the sport must be played! It's a gentleman's game for a reason! Keep a calm head when you loose and a calmer one when you win! Applies to both the teams!

  • Steve on December 15, 2016, 4:38 GMT

    Inzamam Ul Haq:

    "It is surprising to me that Anderson should question Kohli's runs and ability because I haven't seen him take too many wickets in India," Inzamam told Geo Super sports channel.

    "Does Anderson mean to say that if you get runs in England you get some sort of certificate that makes you a quality batsman? Don't the English and Australian players struggle when they play in the sub-continent? Does that mean they are bad players or weak teams. To me it does not matter where you get runs because in Test matches runs are runs," the former Pakistan skipper added.

    Graeme Smith:

    "Is #jimmyanderson saying he can only bowl in English conditions? #kohli #IndvsEng."

  • Salt on December 15, 2016, 0:31 GMT

    @ROHANMARKJAY- So you want to have equal support for Anderson? The same guy who pushed Jadeja when India toured England? Are you sure? Your sentence " Anderson maybe a sledget but that's mostly in England where he is lethal also" is rubbish.What has his performance got to do with sledging.On a similar tone, Ashwin is even more dangerous in his home conditions,so he is automatically given a green card from guys like you.Look past the biases my friend and enjoy the game.Having an indian name and calling out indians is a bit rich.

  • Mark on December 14, 2016, 17:38 GMT

    It seems on these boards indians can do no wrong. With Indian cricket fans outnumbering England fans 9 to 1 I suppose, it feels very one sided. Fact is Indian supporters can't face the fact their player Ashwin behaved appallingly. Anderson maybe a sledger but that's mostly in England where he is lethal also Anderson was a key part of England winning in 2012 so it false that people here state he is rubbish in the subcontinent. Anderson is in the team for a reason. Ashwins behaviour was bad maybe trying to give it back for their hard time in England I don't know but India dominated this series and there was no need for the bad behaviour from the indians or their biased supporters who can't see when one of their own is in the wrong.

  • makaka5024165 on December 14, 2016, 17:06 GMT

    Anderson's bowling record outside of England is pedestrian. Other than England which favors fast bowling, he averages more than 35 in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and India. So it's really naive of him to call out Kohli's flaws when he clearly is a one trick pony.

  • Global on December 14, 2016, 15:52 GMT

    @ANDYSTAT - I will give you a standard answer given by some countries for their player's bad behaviour (eg: Broad/ Anderson/ Stokes)... "oh! he is just very passionate about the game and sometimes he comes across very aggressively... it's a part of his character and we like to see that in him, as it makes him a better cricketer... blah blah blah"... convinced?!

  • Naga.golla on December 14, 2016, 14:04 GMT

    Why is Jimmy in every damn altercation when these two teams get involved? Also, I agree that he has been lethal in swinging conditions back home but to be considered the BEST in the business, he needs to start taking wickets in subcontinent too. It's just absurd he talks of technique or skill of Kohli's performance in England where is really belted to all parts of the park in sub-continent.

  • Andy on December 14, 2016, 13:51 GMT

    Confrontation of the sort provided by Ashwin is unpleasant at the best of times and in the context of the game, with India about to finish off a thumping win, was completely unnecessary. What better way to make your point than to win with an innings to spare and then shake hands and commiserate with the vanquished.

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