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Pushgate: Alastair Cook defends Jimmy Anderson's 'aggressive attitude'

Manchester: Alastair Cook said there was no need for England to adopt a "nicey-nicey" approach after the International Cricket Council confirmed they would not appeal against the decision to clear James Anderson over claims he pushed and abused India's Ravindra Jadeja.


Alastair Cook

Judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis last week cleared England paceman Anderson of breaching the ICC's code of conduct after he clashed with Jadeja during the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge. Following a complaint from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the ICC said on Tuesday that it would review Lewis's decision, but it has decided to accept his findings.

However, what is not in dispute is Anderson's fondness for 'sledging' -- verbally abusing opposition batsmen England great Geoffrey Boycott, while hailing Anderson as the country's best bowler since Ian Botham, urged the Lancashire seamer to modify his approach. "Jimmy should reflect on whether he wants to be remembered as one of the all-time great English seam bowlers or a foul-mouthed abusive bowler," said Boycott in his Daily Telegraph column published Wednesday. "To me it is a no-brainer. James Anderson should zip it up and bowl."

And in confirming the ICC would take no further action against Anderson, chief executive, David Richardson, a former South Africa wicketkeeper, said: "We must reiterate that there is no place in the game for the use of offensive language that is personally insulting of one player by another." However, Cook, speaking later Wednesday, insisted he had no qualms regarding the behaviour of the 32-year-old Anderson, now just 12 wickets off equalling Botham's England record of 383 Test wickets.

"We know every time that you put on the shirt as an England player or any international you're a role model for young kids," Cook said.- 'Muddied line' - "We also want to play competitive cricket, we don't want it to be too nicey-nicey. "There's always that muddied line. "There's little bits where he (Anderson) might have overstepped the mark occasionally throughout his career, but you'd rather him be on the line than too passive."

Anderson and Jadeja were seen to exchange words on the second day of the first Test on July 10 as the players left the field at lunch and India alleged that this had escalated into a physical confrontation inside the pavilion. But Lewis, a retired Australian judge, found Anderson not guilty of a Level Three offence of "abusing and pushing" Jadeja, who had a fine for a less serious Level One offence rescinded. Anderson could have been banned for up to four Test matches if he had been found guilty.

But the ICC's decision not to appeal against Lewis's findings means that he is now free to concentrate on the fourth Test at his home ground of Old Trafford in Manchester, which begins on Thursday, with the five-match series currently tied at 1-1.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni added: "It is time for us to move ahead."

However, Anderson's persistent 'sledging' had clearly annoyed Dhoni. "If someone is consistent with his abuse he should be punished, it doesn't matter who he is. "We have to monitor it constantly, but at the same time it's important that we play strong cricket."

Cook happy to move forward

England skipper Alastair Cook has expressed satisfaction over the outcome of James Anderson-Ravindra Jadeja verdict and is happy that the fast bowler is now available for remaining two matches of this series, starting with the fourth Test at Manchester on Thursday.

Anderson was pronounced not guilty in the case of physical abuse against the Indian all-rounder by the ICC's judicial commission last Friday. The ICC also rejected BCCI's plea of a review of the verdict.

"It's been a really good couple of days off the field for us in terms of making sure James Anderson is available to play and the whole incident is now behind us. We can concentrate on playing cricket and we don't have to talk about it anymore, and we can get on with playing cricket," Cook said.

"The way both sides have played this series has been fantastic, apart from that one incident which has been blown up. I thought both sides have been very competitive and played it in the right way and in the right spirit," he added.

England will now look to build-on from their 266-run win in the third Test at Southampton, their first in 11 matches.

With the series now tied at 1-1, Cook is banking on Anderson, who was the man of the match at Rose Bowl, to deliver the
"killer punch".

"He is the best English bowler I have seen by quite considerable margins," Cook said about Anderson.

"He's not blessed with absolutely express pace so to be able to control that ball and find a method like in Australia
in 2010 where it didn't swing that much but he took his wickets under 30, using that wobble ball. He has been outstanding and he has been backed up by Stuart Broad. They have taken 500 wickets when they have played together and having those two bowling a lot of overs together has been great for this England side over the last few years."

Anderson bagged 7 wickets in the third Test even after the Jadeja incident was carrying on from the first Test at Trent Bridge and Cook is all praise for his pace spearhead.

"Actually in those last couple of Test matches, with this (incident) hanging over him, Anderson's bowled really well. I don't think it's really affected his performance on the field at all. It's great that this is now behind him. He gets to play in a home Test match, which I know is very special for every guy who gets to play in a home Test match. I think that's what the biggest concern was that he wouldn't get to play at Old Trafford," he added.

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