London: Ahead of the Lord's Test beginning on Thursday, an atmosphere of confrontation was building up between the cricket teams of India and England with the hosts filing a counter-charge against Ravindra Jadeja whose complaint has led to English fast bowler James Anderson being accused of violating the ICC Code Of Conduct.
According to British media, England has filed a level 2 charge against Jadeja, who, if found guilty, could be banned for one Test or two ODIs and docked 100 percent of his match fee. England's retaliation came a day after Anderson was accused of allegedly "abusing and pushing" Jadeja during the first cricket Test at Trent Bridge.
Anderson has been charged under Level 3 of ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel by India team manager Sunil Dev following the alleged incident that took place on the second day of the match last Thursday.
If proved guilty, Anderson will face a ban of two to four Tests or four to eight ODIs.
Ravindra Jadeja attends a training session at Lord's cricket ground in London, on Wednesday, ahead of the 2nd Test match against England which starts on Thursday. Pic/AFP
England captain Alastair Cook said that the counter-charge has been filed against Jadeja. "I didn't see the incident to be honest. We had a discussion with (coach) Peter Moores and Jimmy, and we spoke to the hierarchy at the ECB as well. Yes, there has been a counter charge levelled against Jadeja," Cook said.
Cook hit back at India for accusing Anderson of physical altercation with Jadeja and claimed that targetting their pace spearhead ahead of the second Test was a "tactical" move by the visitors.
"Yes I think so. This is tactical from India. This is where all of this has come from. We are surprised it has come to a situation like this to be honest. Level 3 charge is very surprising. It is also possibly because of his competitive streak and it should be about just one incident.
"After hearing Jimmy's version, it is a mountain out of a molehill to be honest," he added.
The raging controversy gained further momentum with India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting out at the English fast bowler, stating that he was the one who crossed the line. "It is not something that we have done. Let's realise this fact," Dhoni said.
"Like in a press conference you can ask me tough questions. I have the right to answer them or not to answer them, but in no way can I go and touch you. Or you can come and touch me. You can put it in whatever way you want to but there are certain things that need to be followed, and it should be followed," Dhoni said.
"We talk a lot about the spirit of cricket and everything else, and there are guidelines that need to be followed. There have been a few individuals from our side too in the past who have crossed this line. You can be aggressive, you can be vocal, but there are certain guidelines that are laid out and we should follow that," added the Indian captain.
Dhoni said the incident was serious enough to amount to physical abuse. "Definitely, we think so."
When asked specifically if Jadeja was in any way to blame for that incident, Dhoni replied, "No, I don't think so. "It was good on Jadeja's part to not really do something in retaliation. It could have gone a bit far, but I felt he addressed this in the most appropriate manner.
"Someone has to back off at the right time. At the end of the day we play sport and lot of people look up to us, and there is a lot of responsibility on us," he added.
The Indian skipper denied that Anderson was targeted specifically.
With England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) standing strongly behind its player, there is every reason to believe that the relations between the two teams might sour during the rest of the Test series and an ODI leg to follow. But Dhoni insisted that he was not too worried about that aspect. "I am not worried about that. Definitely, I would like to make sure the remainder of the series is played in the right spirit, but at the same time it should not be docile. We want players to be aggressive, say a few things, but at the same time it is very important not to cross the boundaries.
"I think it is our responsibility to play the game in the right spirit. We will try our best to maintain that. I can do what is in my control and move ahead," said Dhoni.