India in England 2014 July 31, 2014

Anderson England's guilty pleasure

There is an uncomfortable recognition that the beauty of James Anderson's cricket comes with a professionalism that has been taken to the limits but weak umpiring has to share the blame
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'Hope to play at Old Trafford' - Anderson

As James Anderson prepares to face an ICC enquiry into his alleged misconduct during the Trent Bridge Test, it is hard to suppress a feeling of frustration about how this wonderful fast bowler has been allowed to become England's guilty pleasure.

Anderson is close to the apex of a fulfilling career, only 12 more wickets needed to draw equal with Ian Botham as England's leading Test wicket-taker. He is championed in England as a true craftsman among fast bowlers, a manipulator of a cricket ball who deserves to stand alongside the best.

And yet, this faith in his bowling purity sits uneasily with a sullied reputation; a player now well known to all but the most casual follower of the game as one of the most ingrained sledgers around and, a natural development, who allegedly has now tipped over into the pushing of Ravindra Jadeja as well. It does not take long to find an opponent, or a past opponent, who says there is nobody worse - even if they then admit it is a crowded field. It should never have come to this.

This then is England's guilty pleasure: on one side, the shy craftsman who became one of the finest fast bowlers in the world; on the other, the Burnley Lip, whose abuse of opponents has been incessant for many years. Many in the game will tell you it doesn't matter a jot. It does. Cricket has a problem - and it needs to deal with it before everybody starts to grow Luis Suarez fangs.

It is important to observe - and his captain, Alastair Cook, was shrewd enough to do so from the start - that the ICC code of conduct commissioner, Gordon Lewis, a retired Australian judge, has been appointed to judge one specific incident at Trent Bridge, about which the details remain at issue, and not to pass opinion on a verbally-strewn career.

The ICC's judgment, in the simplest terms, will determine whether Anderson is banned from his home Test at Old Trafford next week, and perhaps for the rest of the series. For many, that outcome is all that matters. It might swing a Test series towards India in the process, although the suggestion that this is India's reasoning is overly cynical.

This is not a tactic; this is a campaign. And once Lewis makes his ruling, we will wait to discover if it is the first campaign of many or if Anderson is to be its sole victim. A trophy killing for India's mantelpiece.

Anderson's fate will be determined on whether video evidence really does exist - India say so, but they might be bluffing - and on the dubious testimony of witnesses about Who Pushed Who When, Who Said What To Whom, all of which tittle-tattle should be enough to make Lewis wonder whether he should be doing better things with his life.

Cricket's fate will take longer to determine. What we may also be experiencing is the start of India agitation against persistent on-field abuse, a habit resented for its disrespect and occasionally because of its implied threat of physical violence. The reality is that only India is empowered to change the nature of the game - to say "we will not play this way". What is less unclear is whether it has the will to try to transform the way the game is played - or whether perhaps Lewis' ruling will carry wider encouragement for cricket to clean up its act.

We may know a lot more about the repercussions by Christmas. If India, and in particular their captain MS Dhoni, have taken a stand against what they regard as Anderson's excess, how will they respond when India pitch up for a Test series in Australia? They have acted independently of the umpires and match referees once. If Lewis rules in their favour, will they feel obliged to do it again?

If Mitchell Johnson snarls from underneath his vaudevillian moustache, will India be consistent and immediately lay a charge with the ICC? If David Warner yaps like a dog for much of a session, as he once stupidly did to irritate Faf du Plessis, will another charge be laid? If Shane Watson adds some sly words of his own, will three Australians be in the dock?

Anderson's alleged push of Jadeja is presented as the catalyst for the complaint, but it was his reputation as a serial sledger that made Dhoni so anxious to pursue it. Anderson was charged because he has form - the alleged push was just a chance to get even. And physical contact, incidentally, is not necessarily needed to win a case. There is plenty in the ICC Code of Conduct that pretends to punish verbal abuse. It is just that nobody ever presses charges.

While England is invited to regard Anderson as a guilty pleasure, international umpires and the ICC must be feeling nervous. If India is embarking upon an attempted clean up, the umpires will need to intervene in a manner they have not seen fit to do for years. If they do, it will be long overdue. What we have at the moment is a sham.

So much in cricket is disingenuous. The Spirit of Cricket has become a widely-ridiculed moral salad dressing on a game where umpires allow verbal aggression to go unchecked in the misguided belief that they are permitting the vital confrontational elements that enhance the game at the highest level. As long as the invective isn't aimed at them, as long as nobody actually makes physical contact, they are only concerned with ensuring the public does not know too much.

Most of us - at whatever level we play the game - relish a clever sledge, most of us permit a physically-straining fast bowler a display of frustration, most of us don't mind a bit of backchat, but umpires have utterly failed in their duty to check the incessant boorish behaviour that has now become regarded as just a daily reality. Where were they when Anderson indulged in his 30-metre rant at Jadeja as the players walked off for tea? Where is the dividing line? Is everything acceptable unless you actually push someone? It is time we were honestly told.

Instead, we have Anderson, the essentially gentle guy trying to play tough; the diffident figure who has been told by coaches to become more aggressive; the man who could barely spit out a sentence in press conferences at the start of his career, transformed into a venomous on-field malcontent; a natural leader of no-one proudly bowling more Test overs than anyone in the world as he forever strives to be the Leader of the Attack; a talented, likeable lad who has been gradually lulled by this failure of umpires and administrators to rule and has developed, in his immense desire to win Tests for England, into a twisted, nastier on-field personality than he really is.

Considering all the jokes about his grumpiness - his best mate, Graeme Swann, loves to joke that it takes a couple of beers to cheer him up - this role play does not seem to have made him very happy.

As England celebrated an overwhelming victory at the Ageas Bowl, Anderson's hugs with his team-mates seemed slightly troubled. A few minutes later, he was collecting another magnum of champagne, another man-of-the-match award logged. He had produced his finest all-round performance for a year, a display summoned out of adversity, adversity not just for himself, but for his captain, Alastair Cook, and indeed the entire England Test set-up.

While we cherish Anderson's skill, we prefer to be spared a truth. The abuse has become the sourness we would rather not recognise

It was a pleasure to see Anderson and Stuart Broad remembering once again how to play with joy - "play with the happiness of your first Test," the coach, Peter Moores had urged them as he sought to arrest England's worst run for 20 years, and England's senior players, as one, had released the yoke from their back. England kept their lips buttoned - and won by a country mile.

But on the one occasion that Anderson allowed himself some backchat - a sentence or two to Ajinkya Rahane at the end of the fourth day - the response from Rahane was so melodramatic that India's zero tolerance policy was abundantly clear. Was this personal animosity, a tactical manoeuvre ahead of the hearing or further proof a long-term attempt to change the nature of the game?

Anderson's post-match interviews, as ever, were conducted in that vulnerable, polite, halting style. It is the Anderson that England wish to celebrate: the self-effacing, bashful sportsman who has succeeded in a physically-demanding, confrontational job. We would rather dwell on his 371 Test wickets and not wonder about his tally of C words when the game gets tough.

His newly-adopted beard looks like a defence mechanism against the uproar surrounding him. When he was asked after the match if he was confident about the outcome of the hearing, his "don't know" response sounded abashed. There was no petulant strut, no words of defiance, just a world-class player trapped in a behavioural mode that might be about to bring suspension.

While we cherish Anderson's skill, we prefer to be spared this truth. The abuse has become the sourness we would rather not recognise: the stain on the luxury, hand-woven carpet; the dodgy financial dealings that produce the beautiful marina; the uncomfortable recognition that the beauty of Anderson's cricket comes with a professionalism that has been taken to the limits. The alleged push has finally forced us to take notice.

We all know this: fans, team-mates, opponents, former players, umpires, administrators, all playing our part in this endless charade.

The ECB defends Anderson because it wants to win the series and protect its players; no thoughts here - not publicly anyway - of the wider picture. The ICC just bleats that the authority of the enquiry has been compromised because both Dhoni and Cook have passed comment on the situation, more concerned with systems and processes than the long-term health of the game.

Meanwhile, James Anderson, is hung out to dry.

And nobody is imposing, for all of us to see, the behavioural standards by which the game should be run.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 1, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    This is a good article. I think the point is that the sledging culture is now endemic and there is a growing feeling that it has gone too far. Certainly some of Anderson's behaviour seems excessive but I would agree that he can also feel that he has been singled out when many others have been as bad, or worse, in the past. If everyone is driving along the motorway at 80mph and you get pulled over for doing 81mph then you would probably still feel a bit frustrated, even though you knew that what you did was wrong. So it is the whole culture that needs to be tackled, but I think it would need strong and consistent action from the ICC and umpires and I am not sure they are capable of this.

  • kunderanengineer on July 31, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    I agree with the sentiments of Mr. Hopps that umpires have "utterly failed in their duty to check the incessant boorish behavior that has now become regarded as just a daily reality". Compared to other sports such as soccer, baseball, ice hockey or basketball, cricket umpires seem totally impotent to act which is partly due to the weak powers entrusted to them. For example in the aforementioned sports, umpires or referees have the power to impose penalties for "unsportsman-like behaviour' which can even result in the player being sent off. In the end cricket is faced with a dilemma- is it truly a "gentleman's game"as it likes to advertise itself as or not? If it is, then there should be no place in it for sledging and verbal abuse of players and umpires should be given more powers to enforce the rules by handing out penalties. If it's not, then don't advertise it as the gentleman's game. But you can't have it both ways.

  • on August 2, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Completely exonerating both is certainly NOT honourable to a great game! Sorry, to see a decision hiding behind the lack of "visual" evidence. To exaggerate the point, will any judge dismiss a case of theft for lack of visual evidence. I plead guilty for this exaggerated comparison, but had to, since many are dismissing the event as a non-event.

  • IndianInnerEdge on August 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Nice read from David...'Sledging' 'Mental Disintegration' are just labels attached by Aus players &Waugh to basically lip service& mouthing off which was existent even when the noble game began. Also in real life, in the corporate jungle, arent we all moving like chess pieces, playing political games, manipulating, etc just to get that extra edge, that extra promotion? Slegding is the same thing,except it is out in the open minus all the smoke&mirrors that go with real life climbing the coroporate ladder. What endears people like Rahul, Sachin,kallis,sanath,inzy, mo yo, lax,chanders, etc was that these august gentlemen rarely sledged, if they did-it was to challenge the cricketing skill of an opponent-the very reason they were on the same field as their opponent-WITHOUT any reference to certain body parts, certain bodily functions, questioning anyones parentage, heritage, etc.....it never was personal, sledging is fine as long as it sticks to these parameters & has an element of humour

  • on August 2, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Although I agree with the sentiment of this article to an extent, the concept of Indian 'cleaning-up' cricket seems laughable to me.

    I agree that is a shame stump mics have essentially been turned off in recent years. I think the verbal element of the game is enjoyable within reason. I want to hear keepers and close-in fielders trying to gain the psychological edge. I don't want to hear yobbish abuse like you'd hear a troubled inner city school. I guess umpires have become scared teachers, who just accept the reality of the situation and think they can do little about it.

    Just tell the players stump mics are going back on for viewers, and any indiscretions deemed too extreme will be punished by the ICC. You're right to point out that Jimmy and England (among other nations) play the 'humble sportsman' card in pre and post match interviews. Let them prove it by making it known the world is listening. I think they would clean up their act quite quickly actually.

  • on August 2, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    So Anderson and Jadeja are found not guilty owing to a lack of evidence, and the whole issue is swept under the carpet again.

    It's time for cricket to institute a sin bin system - send players off for 30 minutes, with no substitute - for inappropriate language, pushing and shoving etc.

  • DustBowl on August 2, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Excellent article. As others and G Boycott have said, nip it in the bud - but the umpires and administrators are too weak to do this. Sledging and wit are surely to be welcomed, but Warner's efforts and 'breaking arms' are boorish and just for the 'pub car park' - though I can see why Clarke broke after the earlier drubbing and lip from Anderson. Is it a cultural thing, did Dravid or Murali sledge - not really? I don't think Kallis did, great demeanor. Compare to boring Warner and Anderson...

  • on August 1, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    I always liked the sledging the Aussie developed and it did make the game interesting and added more drama to already high voltage atmosphere of test cricket. Anyway, with two test to go and a deficit of 13 wicket, great chance for Jimmy to go for the highest wicket taker and surpassing Botham's record of being the highest English wicket taker.

  • TrumperLives on August 1, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Sledging was never part of the game - psychological banter and gamesmanship however have always been so. Sadly people make the mistake of confusing foul mouth abuse (sledging) as banter. Common Law principles if applied to on field abuse would be considered as either slander or causing alarm and affront.

  • shane-oh on August 1, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    @davidhopps1 - brilliant! That response is gold, I shudder to think how abusive some of the messages must have been! Thanks for replying in such comprehensive fashion.

  • on August 1, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    This is a good article. I think the point is that the sledging culture is now endemic and there is a growing feeling that it has gone too far. Certainly some of Anderson's behaviour seems excessive but I would agree that he can also feel that he has been singled out when many others have been as bad, or worse, in the past. If everyone is driving along the motorway at 80mph and you get pulled over for doing 81mph then you would probably still feel a bit frustrated, even though you knew that what you did was wrong. So it is the whole culture that needs to be tackled, but I think it would need strong and consistent action from the ICC and umpires and I am not sure they are capable of this.

  • kunderanengineer on July 31, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    I agree with the sentiments of Mr. Hopps that umpires have "utterly failed in their duty to check the incessant boorish behavior that has now become regarded as just a daily reality". Compared to other sports such as soccer, baseball, ice hockey or basketball, cricket umpires seem totally impotent to act which is partly due to the weak powers entrusted to them. For example in the aforementioned sports, umpires or referees have the power to impose penalties for "unsportsman-like behaviour' which can even result in the player being sent off. In the end cricket is faced with a dilemma- is it truly a "gentleman's game"as it likes to advertise itself as or not? If it is, then there should be no place in it for sledging and verbal abuse of players and umpires should be given more powers to enforce the rules by handing out penalties. If it's not, then don't advertise it as the gentleman's game. But you can't have it both ways.

  • on August 2, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Completely exonerating both is certainly NOT honourable to a great game! Sorry, to see a decision hiding behind the lack of "visual" evidence. To exaggerate the point, will any judge dismiss a case of theft for lack of visual evidence. I plead guilty for this exaggerated comparison, but had to, since many are dismissing the event as a non-event.

  • IndianInnerEdge on August 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Nice read from David...'Sledging' 'Mental Disintegration' are just labels attached by Aus players &Waugh to basically lip service& mouthing off which was existent even when the noble game began. Also in real life, in the corporate jungle, arent we all moving like chess pieces, playing political games, manipulating, etc just to get that extra edge, that extra promotion? Slegding is the same thing,except it is out in the open minus all the smoke&mirrors that go with real life climbing the coroporate ladder. What endears people like Rahul, Sachin,kallis,sanath,inzy, mo yo, lax,chanders, etc was that these august gentlemen rarely sledged, if they did-it was to challenge the cricketing skill of an opponent-the very reason they were on the same field as their opponent-WITHOUT any reference to certain body parts, certain bodily functions, questioning anyones parentage, heritage, etc.....it never was personal, sledging is fine as long as it sticks to these parameters & has an element of humour

  • on August 2, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Although I agree with the sentiment of this article to an extent, the concept of Indian 'cleaning-up' cricket seems laughable to me.

    I agree that is a shame stump mics have essentially been turned off in recent years. I think the verbal element of the game is enjoyable within reason. I want to hear keepers and close-in fielders trying to gain the psychological edge. I don't want to hear yobbish abuse like you'd hear a troubled inner city school. I guess umpires have become scared teachers, who just accept the reality of the situation and think they can do little about it.

    Just tell the players stump mics are going back on for viewers, and any indiscretions deemed too extreme will be punished by the ICC. You're right to point out that Jimmy and England (among other nations) play the 'humble sportsman' card in pre and post match interviews. Let them prove it by making it known the world is listening. I think they would clean up their act quite quickly actually.

  • on August 2, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    So Anderson and Jadeja are found not guilty owing to a lack of evidence, and the whole issue is swept under the carpet again.

    It's time for cricket to institute a sin bin system - send players off for 30 minutes, with no substitute - for inappropriate language, pushing and shoving etc.

  • DustBowl on August 2, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Excellent article. As others and G Boycott have said, nip it in the bud - but the umpires and administrators are too weak to do this. Sledging and wit are surely to be welcomed, but Warner's efforts and 'breaking arms' are boorish and just for the 'pub car park' - though I can see why Clarke broke after the earlier drubbing and lip from Anderson. Is it a cultural thing, did Dravid or Murali sledge - not really? I don't think Kallis did, great demeanor. Compare to boring Warner and Anderson...

  • on August 1, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    I always liked the sledging the Aussie developed and it did make the game interesting and added more drama to already high voltage atmosphere of test cricket. Anyway, with two test to go and a deficit of 13 wicket, great chance for Jimmy to go for the highest wicket taker and surpassing Botham's record of being the highest English wicket taker.

  • TrumperLives on August 1, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Sledging was never part of the game - psychological banter and gamesmanship however have always been so. Sadly people make the mistake of confusing foul mouth abuse (sledging) as banter. Common Law principles if applied to on field abuse would be considered as either slander or causing alarm and affront.

  • shane-oh on August 1, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    @davidhopps1 - brilliant! That response is gold, I shudder to think how abusive some of the messages must have been! Thanks for replying in such comprehensive fashion.

  • davidhopps1 on August 1, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Thanks for all the published responses. Clearly sledging is alive and well on Cricinfo too. People are always entitled to regard every piece they read as misguided - the counter argument that physical threat is entirely different from endless sledging, and that this issue is only about an alleged push, can be advanced but I don't happen to agree with it. But as for the many junked comments, please read the piece first before tearing into infuriated views that I regard Anderson as entirely innocent (wrong), that this is an evil attack on India (wrong), that I want to ban ALL sledging (wrong), that I am blaming Australia (wrong) or, most funnily, that I am known as a champion sledger because I was once "outed" by the Guardian for calling Ashley Giles a wheelie bin. I am still giggling at that. Please call the piece I wrote the most ridiculous piece you have ever read on Cricinfo if you must be so aggressive not the piece you think I wrote or we will have no option but to lay Level 4 charges

  • agent001 on August 1, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    Tactics to get Anderson out of the series ? It takes two to tango. Just fine Anderson for 100% of his match fee and call it even. Spectators ay big bucks to come see the players play, and barring them from the game is not the right approach in the short term or I the middle of a series. Impose huge fines.

  • Clyde on August 1, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    There is something pathetic about players who dissipate their energy in sledging. Surely it is not advantageous to admit defeat in this way. Spectators are cheated out of cricket while these players carry on with their egotism. It is a tawdry subject to have to get into, but must be dealt with till clarity is reached. What is this famous 'line' that is not to be crossed? If I faced a bowler who acted like a two-year-old I imagine I would think only that he was unfortunate and easy runs were coming up. Perhaps the concern is that sledgers sometimes enter actual abuse, such as the use of derogatory terms that could bring prosecution if used in a public place. I think it has a lot to do with the public desire for not only able players but admirable ones, those who used to win best-and-fairest awards in some kinds of football, and a game that inspires respect.

  • Boycott_Boycott on August 1, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    I do not think the umpires are at fault. They do not control the game. They are not allowed to. They observe things happening and they intervene only if actions get heated. I wonder why do Test Captains shake hands at the beginning of a tes. Instead they should be told that the game should be played fairly with actions to be referred to the match referee at the end of each day if an incident is seen/heard on the microphones and the players being docked playing time, the worse incidents ensuring that the players staying away for the rest of the match. This way the players will tend to consider their actions and the public coming to know why the players are not participating, with no substitution being allowed for the indulgent player.

  • Twinkie on August 1, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Glad somebody has defined the difference between" chirping" and "sledging". Chirping is acceptable but sledging is not. Also players should rely on witty barbs rather than abuse to needle their opponents. Comments about a player's cricketing ability are fine. Perhaps they are not as capable as Freddy Flintoff was when he reportedly told a wayward Tino Best to ' Watch out for the windows!" Knowing Tino, he would have tried for more pace and ended up just missing the moon. Even Barbadians like me find that funny! I notice some people here who think that demanding good behaviour is a function of one's origins. I know people from all walks of life who behave at both ends of the spectrum. Standards must be set regardless or things will eventually get out of hand. In these times more than ever before, verbal abuse may lead to physical abuse. The starting point is always the sledging. And that's why we are "missing the point" and speaking about Anderson's sledging.

  • Charlie101 on August 1, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    I can't believe what I am reading - chirping / sledging has been part of the game for years . Read the hilarious top 10 sledges with Merv the fat bus conductor , Rodney Marsh to Botham " hows the wife and my kids"etc

    The pushing / waving bat is an incident too far and we will find out the penalty later today but India should get used to it as the Aussies will be far worse than us this winter.

  • on August 1, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I find this 'the line is drawn at physical contact' attitude strange. When was that ever decided? There are other examples of physical contact in the game on and off the field, going back just far as sledging.

    It's just a smoke screen covering the fact that India / MS Dhoni have decided that this is the time to draw a line in the sand. Jimmy is probably a deserving candidate for the precedent and I don't feel sorry for him. I do think India could have handled things better and not taken it out on one individual.

  • jw76 on August 1, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    Well said, David, I totally agree - the umpires, and those backing them, need to be much more proactive in clamping down n sledging. I don't think India are quite clean, though - I have seen a couple of nasty send-offs by Kohli, at least - but if they do lead a campaign against sledging I will back them all the way.

  • TheBengalTiger on August 1, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    I think there is a clear distinction between sledging, which is fine, and boorish behaviour, which isn't. Most teams do sledge and chirp the batsmen etc. Only one team abuses the opposition constantly, and thats Australia. Judging by these comments, everyone agrees. For far too long, the rest of the world has put up with Australian behaviour. The last Ashes in particular was very nasty. It's time the ICC stepped in.

  • bouncy-pitch on August 1, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Verbal abuse is one thing, physical abuse another. If anderson touched Jadeja, the book should be thrown at him (figuratively, of course)

  • landl47 on August 1, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    If India has now adopted a zero tolerance policy, are they going to apply it to their own players? One thing missing from this article (most of with which I agree) is that India is not without a history. Harbhajan was a persistent sledger and Jadeja, the other partiicipant in this alleged fracas, has a previous conviction himself and is known as a character with more than a little abrasiveness on the field.

    If all countries, the ICC and the umpires are going to take a unified position on poor behaviour, then I'm all for it. At the moment I don't see anyone stepping up and saying that should happen except the media and the fans.

    As for the virtuous 'he pushed him' claims, I didn't see any signs of Jadeja being hurt, did you? I've been pushed and jostled many times at sporting events and I didn't resort to legal action over it. If they got too close and Anderson pushed him away, it's hardly a capital offence.

    Deal with it, fine and warn the participants and let's play cricket.

  • nlpdave on August 1, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    The essence of the problem is firstly the absence of 'on-field' sanctions for umpires to apply and the inevitable trend to remove all disciplinary options from the umpire and elevate proceedings to a ludicrous quasi judicial level. This has even been applied to the game laws, once the sole province of umpires, in that throwing is no longer the umpires problem as it will all be taken care of outside the game itself. The culture of reporting rather than acting leaves umpires rather defenceless. This is much more important in the recreational game than the professional one as bad behaviour by professionals can be mimicked on the village green. Cricket was once a game that didn't need such sanctions but times have changed

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on August 1, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    @kunderanengineer - where I live cricket is not advertised as a game just for gentlemen. Quite the opposite - there are attempts made to include all regardless of race, religion, colour, social standing .......

    A quick look at cricket's Associate Members will show that it includes many of the planet's countries including places as diverse as Oman, Argentina, Israel and Vanuatu. And that is just the countries with national teams. Perhaps it is too late to try and make it a "gentleman's club" and perhaps it just a myth that it ever really was.

  • CandD-Ski on August 1, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    Most of these comments miss the point - verbal abuse is one thing and has gone on for decades, but physical contact is entirely another matter. If it happened, it must be stamped on very hard to dissuade any repetition.

  • on August 1, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Very simple - adopt the yellow and red card approach. Umpires should be able to discipline on the spot.

  • acapulko on August 1, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    We seem to be forgetting that test cricket is played by two countries with two different cultures. What may be normal to one perhaps may be offensive to another. If a person is offended by words or deeds of another he has every right to complain. I find it disappointing that it has been suggested across some forums that India should have looked at this as an incident on te field and forgotten about it.

  • Puffin on August 1, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    All this sledging and nonsense should have been stopped a long time ago, but it's got so out of hand that players start pushing and shoving each other before it comes to a head.

    These players are hardly amateurs: they are paid large salaries for professional status, it's time for them to start acting the part.

  • shane-oh on August 1, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    @James Watts - I think a better analogy would be, if the limit is 79mph, and everyone is driving at 80mph including yourself, you'd be annoyed if you were pulled over - and rightly so. I see your point though.

    This case has revealed and oddity in the rules - that a team can charge an opposition player without any of the officials needing to agree to doing so. Wouldn't happen in other sports.

    I detest sledging. But we can't suddenly decide to punish one player who is far from being the worst in the world. If we are going to crack down, fine - but this needs to be clearly communicated in advance before it is enforced. It makes no sense to single out one person and punish them for something players all over the world are doing - that's not the way to tackle it.

    Make an announcement that from some particular date we will be charging people for excessive sledging. Then everyone is on an even playing field rather than being punished at the whim of an opposition team.

  • madras_boy on August 1, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    We have already heard about Symmonds - Harbhajan, Miandad- More stories. If Anderson has physically pushed Jadeja, then he is bound to be punished. Hope ICC will be fair in their trial.

  • on August 1, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    Its time that the umpires on field are allowed and empowered to discipline players. The most effective would be to introduce the the "Yellow" carding of 'sledgers/abusers (players with upstart(ish) behavior)' on field by the umpires. The decision of "Red" carding should be left to the jury of umpires, match referee and the ICC reps for a particular match at the end of day's play for the next day/rest of the match/next match after the appeals (if any) of the player(s) involved are heard at the end of the day. The "Gentlemen's" game must be played in the spirit it was meant to be played.While winning is important for national pride/sentiment we can't have a public spectacle of sledging/abuse on TV screens around the globe being watched by millions with only the match officials/umpires feigning blindness to the indiscipline on the field just because they are not empowered with "on the spot decision making/disciplinary powers." Its high time we "STOP THE ROT" with decisive action now !!!!!

  • RamblerDhaka on August 1, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    I agree that poor/weak umpiring is to blame. But the solution is also simple. Allow the on field microphones to pick up and broadcast the sledging/chirps etc. Let the cricketing public get to know their heroes first hand. Believe me when the cricketers risk allowing the public and in particular sponsors see them as they really are, all this boorish and unsportsmanlike conduct will disappear. When sponsors start withdrawing lucrative endorsement contracts as a result of not wanting to be associated with bad behaviour, that will be the end of this issue.

  • on August 1, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    All good Mr. David Hopps except saying, "India's zero tolerance policy" because you have the answer from MSD saying, "we will not play this way". I hope spirit of any game or anything is to follow the rules & regulations. If you're not following the rules derived then its not at a game then where "spirit of the game" comes from. Do not criticize India for its stand against Jimmy.

  • shane-oh on August 1, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 - really? Mitch? I assume you mean Mitchell Johnson - one of the worst sledgers on the planet.

    Also compelled to point out that he isn't the fastest in the world, and certainly not the best - not by a long shot.

  • on August 1, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    I think cricket, people and this article are all losing their grip on reality. In test cricket, as in any sport, there is going to be sledging, there is going to be gamesmanship and learning to use it to one's advantage, or to resist letting it distract one's concentration, should form part of the mental toughness and character required to succeed at the best. Sledging was a big part of Steve Waugh's legendary Australian team, but it was only successful because it was underwritten by performance on the pitch. By contrast, in 2012 when Michael Clarke's men tried to 'sledge-out' Hashim Amla/Faf du Plessis, it failed because of their temperament, and it made the Australians look ridiculous. That James Anderson could face a suspension for this is ridiculous. If the Indian batsmen cannot take the heat, they should strongly consider leaving the 5-day kitchen.

  • on August 1, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    To compare sledging to Luis Suarez's vampiric tendencies is the stupidest analogy I have seen in a long time. Sledging simply adds yet another physiological element to cricket. If you are put off playing by it then you deserve to lose your wicket.

  • RayMcCooney on August 1, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    @TrumperLives and @VivtheGreatest: This isn't an office environment we're talking about here. These are highly trained representatives of their home or adopted nations who are trained to be confrontational. Why then is there surprise when there is confrontation? Having spent the best part of forty years in business management I can readily draw parallels in the ON FIELD behaviour we have SEEN from the shop floor right up to the boardroom. Let's not fool ourselves that what we have SEEN is an isolated incident or something new. This behaviour is endemic, even amongst those who complain the loudest, and has been going on for years. What has ben ALLEGED is a different matter, however, and we the public have had no visibility or evidence to support the ALLEGATIONS. Please comment, but stop judging on the basis of what is effectively hearsay at this stage.

  • Potatis on August 1, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Why bring up Australian names without mentioning Virat Kohli? One would think India is a team of saints.

  • Daniel_Smith on August 1, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    Ultimately, the players themselves are responsible for this. Anderson was told to get ready for a 'broken arm' in Australia, he was only getting back what he dished out.

    Should cricket be like boxing? All this trash talk is meaningless if it's not backed up, empty kettles make the most noise. Two of the finest batsman of the recent era are Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. I can't see either of them needing to talk dirty, they punished their opponents with the runs they scored and the timeliness of doing so.

    Perhaps there is something in the Indian culture that doesn't see the need for trash talk/sledging. Perhaps there is something in the Indian culture that extends a certain amount of respect to one's opponent. In which case then that makes them much better than us.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on August 1, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    The ICC is rightly following up on this incident of possible pushing and shoving. However, if a person cannot accept verbal exchanges they are unsuited to playing cricket. International cricket is not limited to a narrow, exclusive social class and if a person cannot accept coarse or rude language they are unsuited to playing cricket in its higly competitive, professional and open environment.

    Trying to turn international cricket into a politically correct kindergarten would be the biggest insult of all.

  • OneTipOneHand on August 1, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    Sledging does NOT add anything positive to the game - it takes away from the sport and reduces it to the level of an ugly pub brawl. I know some people would like to see more of it. IMHO, there's a reason I prefer to watch and play Cricket, rather than the WWF - the way I see it, there should be no room for sledging - even if it means the Jadeja's, Anderson's and 80% of the Aussie cricket team gets banned for life!

  • on August 1, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Timing, is a great thing... When Anderson pushed Jadeja it was during the 1st test when nothing worked in his favour. This article and even the hearing comes out after Anderson being victorious. If this article was written on the day the incident happened, it would have received a different response.

    But if anyone thinks that Andersons behaviour was only a product of poor umpiring, then tell me if all crimes are products of lineint law engorcement? I am a big Anderson fan. He is not even half the bowler he was in 2011. He was under pressure to perform and since he could not talk with the ball (on the first test match) he did what he did. I think he deserves punishment. Sledging is a whole different matter.

  • on August 1, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    I think the "incessant boorish behaviour" that David Hopps rightly castigates started in earnest with Allan Border's Australians, who used it as a tactic (it suited Merv Hughes' personality too). The great West Indian fast bowlers didn't need to sledge to impose themselves on their opponents ("Curtly talk to no man" wasn't just for interviews). Yes there were earlier instances (most obviously Lillee and Javed Miandad), but they were generally less systemic.

    Cricket can't be played in monastic silence, but the umpires (if necessary with the aid of referees and stump mikes) should get all teams to cut out the unnecessary abuse and threats. Aren't you good enough to let your cricket do the talking?

  • JohannK on August 1, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    How could umpires ever have allowed Australia to get away with their "mental disintegration" tactics that started in the previous decade? They had a fantastic team that could win matches through ability. But Steve Waugh deemed it necessary to resort to the tactic of total mental disintegration of the opponent batsmen - something that is now part of Australian cricketing culture and other teams felt compelled to adopt the tactic to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage. Nobody minds a clever chirp, but the barrage of verbal abuse that players are subjected to is out of hand.

    This should stop immediately and I agree with the writer - it is up to the umpires on the field to deal with it. They must be empowered by the same laws as which pertain to bowlers running on the pitch: one or two warnings, followed by suspension - either in the same match, or following matches. Fielders should be included.

  • ChrisMarx on August 1, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    I love watching fast bowlers have a go at batsmen. A few short ones up the nose and a menacing glare spices up the athmosphere like few things else in the game and adds some bite to the contest. The problem for me comes in when players start verbally abusing their opponents, something which has no place in the game imo. Sledging however shouldn't be confused with chirping. A chirp is a witty or humourous comment most often between players on the same side but meant for the ears of the opponent. A sledge is a direct insult aimed at the opposing player, often aggresively. The first should be an acceptable on the field, the second most defenitely not. Do the powers in charge have the resolve to act? I'm not sure they do, but we'll see. I also don't agree that Anderson is somehow the victim of circumstance here. He is an adult person and should be able to comprehend that his actions have consequences.

  • ZainE111 on August 1, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Thanks 5string and especially Nutcutlet for the interesting info!

    Excessive sledging is an endemic problem in cricket. You'll see it happening all the way from franchise under-16 levels to The Ashes. I don't think that a top-down solution will necessarily work because top tier players have been exposed to sledging since they were kids. To someone like Anderson, sledging is as much a part of cricket as the seam on the ball.

  • asad90 on August 1, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    It surprising how the author has tried to pass on the blame on every other possible fellow except for Jimmy anderson. There are more than fifty fast bowlers across all teams, and all want wicket, all work in extreme conditions. But they are not all crossing the limits. Its upto the individual (in this case Jimmy) who is and should be held responsible, if found guilty.

  • csr11 on August 1, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    I agree with Mr Hopps sentiment - week umpiring has evidently permitted the kind of behavior that led to this unpleasant episode, but it would be poor administration to condone it.

  • on August 1, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    Sledging is part of the game. Makes the game more interesting. But there is a line that must not be crossed. Where that line is, nobody knows. Swearing at a player is not allowed. Sledging makes the battle in the middle more intense. without it we would have boring games where nothing happens. I enjoyed it when zaheer khan used to say a word to Smith. He would say less to Amla or ABD. The umpires must be the judge of the line.

  • VivtheGreatest on August 1, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    @TrumperLives, The most sensible comment so far , clearly and succinctly stating the problem . Misguided patriotism shouldnt cloud the facts.

  • the_wall_fan on August 1, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    While Weak umpiring has led to the escalation of the on-field verbal volleys, it by no means is the excuse for Anderson to go on with this nonsense. Anderson has a record of sledging and to blame the umpiring for his behavior is saying dog ate my homework. He has not been disciplined by his board which is even strange.This has emboldened Anderson to what he has turned out today. As long as we are on the subject of pinning the responsibility on others - Why did Cook not step in and reign Anderson on that day? Man management is a very important aspect of captaincy: It seems Cook is a failure there. He failed to step up that day and hence he risks loosing his trump card for the reminder of the series.What makes it even worse is for Cook to suggest that India is protesting just so that Anderson could be eliminated is the most unprofessional comment from a captain. Wonder why anybody is not talking about it...

  • on August 1, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Perfect Article! This is right time to take action! May be something like in football, yellow or red cards!!!

  • TrumperLives on August 1, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    If cricketers regard themselves as professionals, and the field is therefore their workplace, then sledging would not be tolerated. If any of us behaved like that in our workplace, then we would have very short careers.

  • etypemac on August 1, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    I'm an English cricket supporter but I want to see Anderson banned. I want it driven home to him that his behaviour is not acceptable and I want the ICC to use him as an example. I want the message sent to Mitchell Johnson and David Warner and all the other foul mouths, even Dale Steyn has his moments, that it should not be part of the game. The 'sledging' euphemism has been over used for years. It's abuse, pure and simple. The laws of the game, include a preamble on the spirit of cricket, and that each game should be played within the spirit and the laws. And there is a code of conduct that includes "Using language that is obscene, offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another player, umpire, team official or spectator. In this instance, language will be interpreted to include gestures." The umpires should do something about every occurrence and it may eventually disappear from the game.

  • on August 1, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    This opinion will perhaps be labelled antediluvian but who cares it is just a label by someone... I cannot see why anyone should accept any kind of sledging on the field in a game of cricket. One side's job is to bowl, field, stop runs and take wickets and the other side's job is to bat and score runs. Team games like football or hockey and individual sports like tennis or badminton don't see the need for verbal exchange between opposing teams and even if it happens there is swift action. Cricket is hypocritical. Calls itself a gentleman's game and then lets the actors run riot with 'extended street logic'. Stop every form of gamesmanship. Sounds impossible as things seem to have gotten out of hand but that is just another myth. If the steely resolve is there with all members of the ICC, it can be done.

  • Kingman75 on August 1, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    I don't know how people can call Anderson anything other than an ordinary bowler. He averages 30 in an era when batsmen aren't that good.

  • sarangsrk on August 1, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Cricket should have provision of a Yellow card/Red card like Football. Like umpires can give warning to bowlers for running on danger area or beamers, they should be able to warn the players for unruly behaviour like unncessary appealing, verbals against other players.Right now, players are free to do what they want (until reported to referee) and hence, they can cross the line. When other team reports such incidents, they are termed as making a mountain out of a molehill. Why should there be any mole in the first place? Other popular sports like Tennis are just played on pure skills. All this mental disintegration theory is for weak, good players should be able to just play the game and win it. If you don't, accept other team was better and move on.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 1, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Sledging and such tactics though not as prevalent as before,is still seen in int. games.Interestingly its the young fast bowlers,@ times spinners who retort to 'aggro'.For perfect role model,look @ fastest,best in world-Mitch.Does all talking with ball.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 1, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    It might a good intention to ban this sledging thing once and for all. Whether Jimmy is or not guilty,gets ban.Ironically the 1 team that has been @ the top when it comes to poor conduct on field is India. From an Indian. Pls publish.

  • IndianSRTfan on August 1, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    The umpires need to play a more definitive role to stop the rubbish that passes for aggression these days, agreed. But the blame doesn't solely lie with them at all.

    Every country's cricket board, media, Ex-players, experts, fans have let the problem fester with their attitude of 'ours is the banter, yours is the abuse'. How else do you explain the England management and ex players, who were so keen to point fingers to Australians for their over the top aggression and sledging during the Ashes, now treating Anderson as if he's some kind of victim?

    Anderson isn't a victim of some lax system, he's a victim of his own attitude where he thinks being abusive is OK because he's good enough. Through the same system players like Sachin, Dravid, Walsh, Wasim, Vettori, Sangakkara, Amla and many more have emerged who didn't feel the need to get abusive or engage in physical confrontations off the field.

    If guilty, let strictest punishments be given. It's high time we drew the proverbial line

  • on August 1, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    No doubt about Anderson's ability as a bowler. But the way he behave in the field through sledging, which many of the viewers would say as the modern art of cricket is unbecoming. Things tend to take an ugly turn when both the peolpe try to engage in heated exchange. Please note the first test of the Ashes when Clarke and Anderson engaged in some nasty acrimony. If sledging is termed to be a form of aggression, it is wrong. For aggression is a quality within you. It should be felt not seen. So let your act do the doing.

  • on August 1, 2014, 3:11 GMT

    Guys, to some extent it is alright to tolerate some sledging on the field, but one must leave it on the field. No need to carry it upstairs. That is why India is protesting it. Even the words with Rahane were after the last ball was bowled. Rahane is one of the calmest persons on the field, it would take something special to rile him up. Play the sport with passion but know when to stop!

  • goldeneraaus on August 1, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    James Anderson is a grown man, he is not a child, nor are any of the professional athletes who play this sport. To lay blame with the umpire for the poor behaviour which permeates through our game is to absolve the responsibility on the shoulders of these professionals. Yes umpires should be more proactive, but their arms are tied and they can really only do so much, they don't have the powers afforded to referees and umpires in other codes.

  • Pinnacle99 on August 1, 2014, 2:00 GMT

    I find it quite offensive that every time any mention of sledging comes up Indian supporters come out to denigrate Australia. It is really ironic that sledging is countered with more sledging. Please stop and accept that different countries are different.

  • Reggaecricket on August 1, 2014, 1:58 GMT

    This whole notion of sledging being allowed, is totally untrue. There is an ICC code of conduct Cricketers, and there is one we know, where in that code is it stated that sledging is lawful? Verbal abuse is a punishable offense even against the public services act of the UK, so how can Cricketers be exempted?

  • on August 1, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Sledging has no place in cricket full stop. There will always be people who say that they do not mind it, that it adds some spice to proceedings, but the more relevant fact is that there are people who do mind it and you cannot force sledging on people who do not want it. Plus sledging is cowardly. If you are really good at your cricket you do not need it to win, and the spectators do not pay money to watch you talk, or to win matches by mental disintegration. They pay to watch you play cricket. If I want to hear witty comments made against the opposition I will rather watch a debate competition. Let the bat and ball do the talking!

  • SoyQuearns on August 1, 2014, 0:49 GMT

    Anderson is a bitter lad with a serious chip on his shoulder. He has a bowling average of over 30.

    He is not a great of the game, he is not great for the game.

    I don't care how bad his start was, an average of 30 is only moderate, and so too is this man as an overall product.

    He can't bowl in Australian conditions (showing he lacks pace and just relies upon England's grey skies).

    He's a reasonable bowler, don't get me wrong (in helpful conditions he's halfway between good and great, no closer though), but to me he's just a sour bloke on the field whose ego and self-worth exceeds the reality of the situation 100%.

    I'm not one of these people who takes great personal offense to sledging, every single team in world cricket does it, you are ignorant if you don't see this, I just take issue wth the fact someone who sits among the middle of the pack (in his generation and overall) as a bowler has so much to say.

    5 years after he retires, he'll be forgotten. Wisely so.

  • jimmy787 on August 1, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    Let's just keep things simple.

    Firstly, there should be a clear distinction made between what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, and everyone needs to know this. For example, we can tolerate a bowler getting frustrated occasionally or the occasional sledge here and there, but the kind of stuff that gets said on the field these days is basically abuse, and total disrespect towards opponents - there must be zero tolerance on this, and players must understand the difference between the two. If they don't, then they shouldn't be playing the game in the first place.

    Secondly, I understand that umpires have a lot on their minds during the course of play, but they must reign it the inappropriate behaviour. Umpires should give a player 1 warning before booking them for engaging in inappropriate behaviour. And a booking should result in the player missing games for their country. Fines are totally ineffective. Only bans from games will do.

  • dunger.bob on July 31, 2014, 23:55 GMT

    How it should be easy is that the rules are already there aren't they? Why don't they just enforce them? .. how hard can it be.

    Finally, what right does any country to forcibly impose it's own values, standards and sensibilities upon any other country. That's what's happening here and I think it's a far bigger and more dangerous problem than sledging ever could be. .. Not that I expect this to be posted. It could be construed to be anti - someone or other.

  • jmcilhinney on July 31, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    I agree with the sentiment that Anderson should be judged during this hearing on the facts of the alleged incident alone. Perhaps India would not have pursued the case as fervently if Anderson was not a serial sledger but, then again, the incident probably wouldn't have occurred in that case. None of us know the truth of what happened and even those who were there may well have very different versions of that truth; not to intentional distort the facts but because they have a genuinely different point of view. It's quite plausible that Anderson was at Jadeja the whole way off the field, quite possibly fuelled by retorts from Jadeja, until Jadeja had had enough and did round on Anderson, who was surprised by that reaction and did then act defensively. A lot of people are all mouth and are surprised if another party doesn't react with just mouth of their own. I do hope that Anderson is not made an example of but I also hope that this incident is a catalyst for greater control of sledging

  • liz1558 on July 31, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    As others have mentioned it's not as if India don't sledge. But, as Cook said, the hearing is not about sledging but what happened out of sight. In that case, it is just going to be unprovable - even with video evidence - and it will be the word of one team against the other. It would've been better for India to drop the whole thing. The best way to deal with Anderson's chirping is by outplaying him. Australia did - and he got tanked. He's a fairly robust sort of bloke though, and 5-0 hasn't been enough to knock him off his stride.

  • DaveGCI on July 31, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    I feel this is Indian cricket trying to show its 'muscle' in the cricketing world, to be one of the big boys. Whatever the rights or wrongs of this incident, Indian players will have to behave more than impeccably from now on or face similar proceedings. And sorry @Coolcapricorn, I don 't agree. The Aussies won't have a thought of the IPL - a domestic league after all - when Johnson and Co are roaring in.

  • Brahams on July 31, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    David, your two cents is worth its weight in gold!

    Thanks for the honest piece on a rather murky situation.

  • Mervo on July 31, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    Anderson's record in Australia is pretty poor and not much better in SA. However, he has been an enduring bowler and has done very well in England for a long time. On the sledging matter and Anderson, it is part of the armoury of a fast bowler and always will be. Will we try to stop them giving nasty looks next? Many commentators would turn the whole game into a meek display, and it is that very meekness that India displayed in this Test. Bring on the Lions!

  • thejesusofcool on July 31, 2014, 20:00 GMT

    Sledging?

    Try this.

    SA V Eng. The Saffer's have 2 fast bowlers, one of whom peppers England's number 9 with 88-92 mph bouncers & hits him under the heart.

    He comes down the pitch & says-I don't just want to hit you there. I hate you damned English. I want to hit you on the head!

    The batsmen simply responds-Do that again and I'll wrap this blinking bat around your head.

    And when do you think that happened? Well, 1956/7,Peter Heine & Jim Laker is the answer, only with stronger words than damned or blinking, of course. So don't let's kid ourselves this is a new thing-it isn't!

  • on July 31, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    This is nothing relating to Anderson's behavior but the beard looks good on him. I don't think he should be banned for the next 2 tests because, if India happens to win in those 2 tests, England will say that it was only because Anderson was not playing. Always an Indian Cricket fan and also an Anderson fan.

  • TheBengalTiger on July 31, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    I think it is time for something to be done about sledging. The Australian team in particular is very nasty, barking at Faf Du Plessis, attacking Joe Root from behind, Lehman abusing Broad on a radio station, behaving like its a WWE match. The behaviour of this Australian team is a disgrace, and I know it won't only be Indian fans who are happy when something is done about it.

  • gazgol86 on July 31, 2014, 18:51 GMT

    Fantastic article!! As usual a couple have missed the point!! It's obvious Dhoni wants to press this case mainly because Anderson is a genuinely unpleasant character on the pitch and not because (wait for it) someone got pushed!!

    Completely agree that the umpires are largely to blame re player behaviour!!

    Hears a good example from a hockey match i played in a while ago opposition team have 3 or 4 gobby players and umpires have a quiet word with the skipper at half time about language, dissent etc. This behaviour carries on in the 2nd half and the umpires call the captain over and sin bin him for 10 mins for failing to control his players!! It's time to put pressure on the captain to control his players.... or else!!!

  • ToTellUTheTruth on July 31, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Nice try Mr. Hopps. Trying to blame the umpires for the anger management issues this egomaniac seem to have developed of late. If umpiring should be taken up as a cause and thus beg ICC to forgive players....well sure... let the Indian players loose too then. We will see what happens.

    The so-called aggression should be restricted to off field. There is no gain in throwing tantrums against your opposition off the field and at the end of the play. Any person with half the brain of a fruit fly would not have done what Jimmy did, at the end of day's play on the 4th day, especially knowing that a sword is already hanging on your neck. Shows what he needs is anger management counselling than you trying to gather sympathy for him.

  • liz1558 on July 31, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    Excellent points. Where exactly do the umpires draw the line? The problem is that if the laws are enforced to the letter, it may completely anaesthetise the game. If Anderson is going over the top, then it should be made a matter for internal discipline first rather than a clamp down on nasty verbals. I didn't enjoy Clarke's comment about breaking Anderson's arm, but what goes around comes around, and it will make for a very interesting series next year when a very old Australia side come creaking to these shores. It is likely to be a proper blood and thunder encounter.

  • LinearSpline on July 31, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Excellent article.

    It is pathetic that this sort of exchange of unpleasantries has become so ingrained in the game. Anderson seems to be a well-known offender, and I hope he will be punished harshly for the physical contact, and that will get him to shut up.

    As an Indian fan, I'll be honest, and say some of the Indian players should be pulled up for this sort of verbal abuse as well. Kohli, for instance, seems to frequently have plenty to say.

    Everyone should just shut up and play.

  • RedRoseMan on July 31, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    Most of these posts totally miss the point. Anderson is not on trial for sledging and should not be made a scapegoat for such behaviour which, to a greater or lesser extent, has become an accepted part of the game. If the ICC wishes to try to bring sledging under control they would have my support, but they would have to set out guidelines as to what is acceptable/unacceptable first.

    Anderson is on trial for the alleged physical contact between him and Jadeja which quite rightly is prohibited - full stop. As for drawing comparisons with Warner, he was not subject to ICC control because the incident did not happen during a match. If it had been he would have received a very long ban as he threw a punch at Root - though because he was drunk it was not a very powerful punch!

  • Coolcapricorn on July 31, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    With due respect to what Mr Hopps says about India's impending tour to Australia, the tour will be played in the right spirit with no antagonism between both sides at all. This is because Aussie stars like Warner, Johnson, Watson etc are regulars in the IPL, have befriended many of the Indian players from sharing the same dressing room & this had also led to a greater understanding & mutual respect of the cultural differences between players of different nationalities. Maybe if more English players get opportunities to play in the IPL too, this will greatly help in reducing tension & abusive sledging between Indian & English players whenever they play each in the future.

  • Nutcutlet on July 31, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    @ ZainE111 on (July 31, 2014, 16:07 GMT): Jimmy Anderson hails from Burnley, a gritty Lancashire town in the NW of England (20 odd miles from Manchester) with a strong sense of community, best found in the fervent support of the local football team, newly promoted to the Premier League this year. Burnley FC was one of the 12 founder members of the football league in 1888. The area's people, like that of all proud ex-mill towns, have a reputation for straight talking and no pretence. Thus Jimmy might be said to have a Burnley Lip, but it's an epithet specifically coined for him, so far as I know. Lancashire people are, of course, also famous for their hospitality, warmth and generosity - as the likes of Sir Learie Constantine, Basil D'Oliveira and many others have testified. David Lloyd '(Bumble', seen on Sky TV) is from Accrington, a few miles from Burnley, but not nearly as big. He speaks with a Lanky accent. I hope that answers your question!

  • on July 31, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    What's most interesting to me is how well he bowled in a match where - one incident aside - he was on his best behaviour. I am an England supporter who would not object to a ban, but I would hope more that Jimmy has learnt from this test how irrelevant to his success the sledging actually is. He should have proved to himself that he's more than capable of letting the ball alone do the talking for another couple of years. Hopefully he will now go about trying to change his unwholesome reputation.

  • John-Price on July 31, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    Zero tolerance sounds good to me and Anderson deserve everything he gets. Bad behavior is unnecessary and puerile and damages the game. The trouble is that so many commentators have form themselves (from their playing days) that they are reluctant to name and shame the offenders.

    The umpires should be able to boot the captain off the field if his team can't keep their stupid comments to themselves.

  • 5string on July 31, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    ZainE111 - 'Lip' refers to banter and humorous (or rude, depending on your view) comments made between antagonists - it can be used to refer to the person making the comments. Burnley is the town in Lancashire where Anderson is from. Hence, the 'Burnley Lip' is Jimmy Anderson.

    Shouldn't captains take some responsibility for their players on the field? I do think umpires should have the power to warn captains of sanctions against players if poor behaviour continues, eg. bowlers prevented from bowling, batsmen docked runs, fielders sent to the outfield (or outside a certain circle, such as you'd find in T20 matches).

    Could make things interesting... and more sporting!

  • on July 31, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    I think it would be foolish to suggest that Anderson is being targeted. This thought process won't cut much ice with people who are sane enough to objectively analyse. the situation.

  • indianzen on July 31, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    There were legends of the game who shown a better character on field - Ambrose, Akram, Walsh, Vaas. Unfortunately, there are some characters who are and were ought to be punished, McGrath and now Jimmy...

  • khiladisher on July 31, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    The verdict on Anderson could well be the defining point of this series.If Anderson plays England wins 3-1 and if he is out of the series I get a strong feeling that India would prevail 2-1.What a Wonderful bowler let down by his behavior!

  • chmkrishna on July 31, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Who cares about how many wickets he has taken when he has crossed d line and went far ahead considering india appealed about physical contact, more over didn't australia suspended warner for slapping root where as england r pleading for indian's mercy

  • Prabhash1985 on July 31, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    I think India did the right thing. This should be done to Australia too. These two countries are trying to make cricket like a wrestling match. If they play like that, we have to do the same, that's what other nations feel. But India took the right path, that is to complain to keep them shut, definitely not towards a victory, but to avoid the mental pressure by media and on-field sledging. That's good.

  • Nutcutlet on July 31, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    The ICC has a great deal to answer for. It has long been fixated on making money ( especially for the BCCI, the ECB & CA) at the expense of the good conduct of the game. Oh, the ICC does occasionally come up with settling a burning issue (like prohibiting runners for injured players that was the talk of everyone -- NOT), but it singularly fails to address the issue of player behaviour. I suppose the umpires have felt that they have been hung out to dry, because there has been no public statement or policy from the ICC giving them the clout to deal with situations that arise, like the taunting between Anderson and Jadeja. Cricketers are better paid than ever, but it hasn't had any effect on the behaviour, because the elite players can shrug off fines with no sense of great loss. Umps need to be empowered and once empowered need to use instant on-field sanctions. Red/yellow cards would provide an interesting experiment. Why not? Not every ump is as hard & scary as Peter Willey!

  • ZainE111 on July 31, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    Great article. But, as a South African, I have no idea what a "Burnley Lip" is. Could someone please enlighten me?

  • glen1 on July 31, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    David Hopps is unnecessarily drawing the India Australia series to soften the problem at hand. The reality is that the English Gentleman's Game is no longer gentlemanly as played by the English players, whereas, it probably is more so in India. I am sure people will jump at instances to negate this, but the 'gentleman' aspect has to be brought back at least to test cricket. There is no room for sledging in a long drawn out attrition-based format. Also, on the Australia front, it is entirely possible that the game could be free of sledging, as the players know each other through the IPL. Anderson is better off learning the distinction between his hand playing the ball, and the mouth abusing others.

  • on July 31, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    One of the worst one sided article i have ever read, blindly supporting Anderson's sledging and also author wants Indians to keep quite bcz great Australian sledgers waiting for Indian cricket team to sledege! Oh what a reasonable expectation from author! ECB should teach its players how to behave in the field. If Video is the only acceptable evidence in the world, many criminals would escape without punishment. if Anderson really pushed jadeja he should be banned.

  • Balladeer on July 31, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    As someone who despises sledging, who feels that the best players should be able to play their cricket without either abusing or being abused by their opponents, and who wishes ever so much for the (non-existent?) days when cricket was a respectable sport where both sides respected each other, thank you for this article. I'm a confused England supporter, who wants England to win this series, but also wants Anderson to receive a check on his potty mouth. I'd rather be able to like him for his wickets (and runs!) without simultaneously hating him for his verbals.

  • amitgarg78 on July 31, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    I would love to see Anderson being made the example on this and not just because I am an Indian supporter. It is about time that ICC puts a high profile player away for a few games, for them to realize that the game can indeed be played without mouthing off. Jadeja is a feisty character but Rahane is one of the most soft spoken guys around. Sledging him when England were on top? What was jimmy thinking? One of these days, he might come across a "Miandad" who will not hesitate in hitting him with bat. Who would be to blame then?

  • chetko on July 31, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Good article, however i think you are just way way too soft on Anderson to suggest that he is a mere product of unenforced standards & coaches who told him to 'get more aggressive'. Every single fast bowler in the world is told to 'get more aggressive' and every single player in the world plays with the same lax enforcement standards of umpires. Some choose to push things as far as the can, others don't. No one told Anderson to go out and become the more egregious offender playing today. He choose that for himself. Regardless of the specifics of the Trent Bridge affair (& it does seem trivial) Anderson pushes the professionalism envelope like no other playing today and that is his choice. He should have to live with the consequences of that reputation. I agree that standards should be more rigorously enforced but Anderson grew up with Spirit of Cricket mumbo jumbo like all cricketers & if he chooses to ignore it for on field success we should acknowledge that for what it is. His choice

  • maxthebarbarian on July 31, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    I think India has the moral authority to be consistent in their objection to on field sledging. Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, and Kumble let the bat and ball do all the talking. They were the fiercest competitors India had, yet they never had to sledge or abuse.

  • maxthebarbarian on July 31, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    I think India has the moral authority to be consistent in their objection to on field sledging. Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, and Kumble let the bat and ball do all the talking. They were the fiercest competitors India had, yet they never had to sledge or abuse.

  • chetko on July 31, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Good article, however i think you are just way way too soft on Anderson to suggest that he is a mere product of unenforced standards & coaches who told him to 'get more aggressive'. Every single fast bowler in the world is told to 'get more aggressive' and every single player in the world plays with the same lax enforcement standards of umpires. Some choose to push things as far as the can, others don't. No one told Anderson to go out and become the more egregious offender playing today. He choose that for himself. Regardless of the specifics of the Trent Bridge affair (& it does seem trivial) Anderson pushes the professionalism envelope like no other playing today and that is his choice. He should have to live with the consequences of that reputation. I agree that standards should be more rigorously enforced but Anderson grew up with Spirit of Cricket mumbo jumbo like all cricketers & if he chooses to ignore it for on field success we should acknowledge that for what it is. His choice

  • amitgarg78 on July 31, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    I would love to see Anderson being made the example on this and not just because I am an Indian supporter. It is about time that ICC puts a high profile player away for a few games, for them to realize that the game can indeed be played without mouthing off. Jadeja is a feisty character but Rahane is one of the most soft spoken guys around. Sledging him when England were on top? What was jimmy thinking? One of these days, he might come across a "Miandad" who will not hesitate in hitting him with bat. Who would be to blame then?

  • Balladeer on July 31, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    As someone who despises sledging, who feels that the best players should be able to play their cricket without either abusing or being abused by their opponents, and who wishes ever so much for the (non-existent?) days when cricket was a respectable sport where both sides respected each other, thank you for this article. I'm a confused England supporter, who wants England to win this series, but also wants Anderson to receive a check on his potty mouth. I'd rather be able to like him for his wickets (and runs!) without simultaneously hating him for his verbals.

  • on July 31, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    One of the worst one sided article i have ever read, blindly supporting Anderson's sledging and also author wants Indians to keep quite bcz great Australian sledgers waiting for Indian cricket team to sledege! Oh what a reasonable expectation from author! ECB should teach its players how to behave in the field. If Video is the only acceptable evidence in the world, many criminals would escape without punishment. if Anderson really pushed jadeja he should be banned.

  • glen1 on July 31, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    David Hopps is unnecessarily drawing the India Australia series to soften the problem at hand. The reality is that the English Gentleman's Game is no longer gentlemanly as played by the English players, whereas, it probably is more so in India. I am sure people will jump at instances to negate this, but the 'gentleman' aspect has to be brought back at least to test cricket. There is no room for sledging in a long drawn out attrition-based format. Also, on the Australia front, it is entirely possible that the game could be free of sledging, as the players know each other through the IPL. Anderson is better off learning the distinction between his hand playing the ball, and the mouth abusing others.

  • ZainE111 on July 31, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    Great article. But, as a South African, I have no idea what a "Burnley Lip" is. Could someone please enlighten me?

  • Nutcutlet on July 31, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    The ICC has a great deal to answer for. It has long been fixated on making money ( especially for the BCCI, the ECB & CA) at the expense of the good conduct of the game. Oh, the ICC does occasionally come up with settling a burning issue (like prohibiting runners for injured players that was the talk of everyone -- NOT), but it singularly fails to address the issue of player behaviour. I suppose the umpires have felt that they have been hung out to dry, because there has been no public statement or policy from the ICC giving them the clout to deal with situations that arise, like the taunting between Anderson and Jadeja. Cricketers are better paid than ever, but it hasn't had any effect on the behaviour, because the elite players can shrug off fines with no sense of great loss. Umps need to be empowered and once empowered need to use instant on-field sanctions. Red/yellow cards would provide an interesting experiment. Why not? Not every ump is as hard & scary as Peter Willey!

  • Prabhash1985 on July 31, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    I think India did the right thing. This should be done to Australia too. These two countries are trying to make cricket like a wrestling match. If they play like that, we have to do the same, that's what other nations feel. But India took the right path, that is to complain to keep them shut, definitely not towards a victory, but to avoid the mental pressure by media and on-field sledging. That's good.

  • chmkrishna on July 31, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Who cares about how many wickets he has taken when he has crossed d line and went far ahead considering india appealed about physical contact, more over didn't australia suspended warner for slapping root where as england r pleading for indian's mercy