Manchester: If further evidence was needed that the game of cricket is in trouble, it came on Friday on an English summer evening when James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja were found not guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct in their much-publicised clash in the opening Test at Trent Bridge.

James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja and Jimmy Anderson after India won the second Test at Lord's recently. Pic/Getty Images.

The judicial commissioner — Gordon Lewis — appointed by the International Cricket Council —handed out the verdicts. Most surprising of the two decisions was Anderson getting a clean chit.

Only last Saturday at Southampton, Dhoni suggested that Anderson pushed Jadeja while returning to the pavilion for the luncheon break in the opening Test at Nottingham. Dhoni was more specific when he said that Jadeja’s bat was under his arm throughout and the allegation of him raising his willow to Anderson was out of the question.

MS Dhoni
India skipper MS Dhoni

After the pre-Test media conference, he told this correspondent: “How can I show my face to Jadeja or any other player? I keep telling them not to retaliate (to on-field confrontations) but they can turn around and tell me that their self respect is at stake now.”

Feel sorry for Dhoni
Yesterday’s ‘not guilty’ decision suggests Dhoni was being stingy with the truth. And that’s a huge slur for a man whose tactics have been in question but not his integrity. One can’t help feel sorry for Dhoni, who came out and spoke his mind on the incident risking an ICC reprimand.

The ICC media release said: “The Judicial Commissioner reached his decisions following a six-hour hearing, which took place via videoconference. “Witnesses, including some Indian and English players, provided evidence and were cross-examined by the respective legal counsels.” That after six hours of discussion, they find no one guilty borders on disbelief.

Clearly, the Indian team have lost more than the Englishmen in this battle. And N Srinivasan is the chief of the ICC. Not for a moment, it is being suggested that things should tilt in favour of the ICC chairman’s country. At the same time, how can BCCI’s coming together with England and Australia to strengthen hold on the game be ignored? In many ways, England is India’s ally in the politics of cricket and two allies squabbling may be frowned upon.

It is hoped that the BCCI turns the ignition key when it comes to restoring the credibility of their captain. If Anderson and Jadeja are not guilty because of lack of evidence then the powers that run international cricket should come out and say so.

No one can blame ICC match referee David Boon for feeling disillusioned after yesterday’s verdict. It was he who fined Jadeja 50 per cent of his match fee and now Jadeja is deemed innocent. The time for cricket to be administered tightly has passed us. The ship is leaking. And this draw cannot be good for cricket.