Finally, we can put the whole sordid mess behind us.
The ICC has said it will not appeal the decision by His Honour, Gordon Lewis AM, to exonerate both England’s James Anderson and India’s Ravindra Jadeja on charges of violating the ICC’s Code of Conduct.
“The disciplinary procedures were robust and transparent and all parties had ample opportunity to ask questions, test the evidence and make submissions,” chief executive David Richardson said in a statement. “We have determined that there is no merit in an appeal and that it would not be in the best interest of the sport to take such action.”
Thankfully, in a press conference yesterday, India captain MS Dhoni also drew a line under the episode, albeit reluctantly. “In our society there is something called evidence and something called lack of evidence,” he said. “Time to move ahead.”
While there is plenty of room to question Richardson’s assertion that the procedures were robust – even Lewis criticised the ICC’s rules in his verdict – Richardson is correct in it not being in cricket’s best interest for the saga to continue. Nobody has emerged from this story with any credit. Not the ICC. Not England. And not India.
The ICC has handled the charges poorly from the start. That there was abuse on the field is clear. Umpire Bruce Oxenford declared in his statement that “I heard Anderson use foul and abusive language to Dhoni. In particular I hear d Anderson say “you're a f****** fat c***” to Dhoni”. Yet Oxenford did not see fit to report this incident to the match referee even though it appears to violate clause 2.1.4 of the ICC’s code, nor did the ICC appear interested in doing anything about it once it was reported in the course of the hearings.
David Hopps broke it down perfectly on ESPNcricinfo:
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.
The ECB’s clumsy attempt at diplomacy to try and extricate their best bowler from a potential ban made a mockery of the situation. Anderson’s reputation as a boor on the field has spread across the cricketing globe.
Martin Crowe, also on ESPNcricinfo, writes: Anderson has been guilty of this crass sledging-type behaviour before and needs to pull his head in fast. If [Alastair Cook] and [Peter] Moores can’t see that then they will lose him long term; surely any more incidents will result in removal one way or the other. Clearly Anderson needs help in this area.”
The BCCI and India’s captain MS Dhoni did not cover themselves with glory either. Dhoni’s public criticism of match referee David Boon’s finding Jadeja guilty undermined the authority of the match referee and set Dhoni up as the arbiter of right and wrong.
The BCCI was simply the BCCI, attempting to use its muscle to get the decision it wants. “On Monday night, I wrote a letter to David Richardson, CEO of ICC, saying that we are not happy with the order,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told PTI. “The code has not been properly followed.
"There are too many points under which the order can be appealed. All these points have been explained in detail in that letter. And I have also requested him that he should appeal against the order. Let us wait and see what they do now."
For India though, there is still a potential silver lining. Despite failing to get the guilty verdict they so desperately wanted, by backing Jadeja, Dhoni has sent a message that he won’t let anyone push his team around. If someone has a problem with an India player, they will also have a problem with Dhoni. That is a powerful message; one that helps produce a strong bond, especially for a young team that has not played much cricket together.
England have the upper hand after their comprehensive 266-run victory at Southampton. An us-against-the-world mentality could help India bounce back at Old Trafford.
Updated Date: Aug 07, 2014 10:47 AM