mid-day view: No justice for MS Dhoni & Co

Aug 02, 2014, 05:38 IST | Debasish Datta

England pace ace James Anderson is deemed 'not guilty' after six-hour hearing

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.

A timeline of the Jadeja-Anderson spat

After both players were declared ‘not guilty’, we look at the sequence of events that followed the ‘altercation’

July 15
James Anderson is charged under Level 3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for allegedly abusing and pushing Ravindra Jadeja on Day 2 of first Test

July 16
England skipper Alastair Cook tells the media that India are making “a big mountain out of a molehill”

July 19
The Indian camp expresses displeasure over lack of video footage of the incident in which they believe Anderson pushed Jadeja

July 22
It is announced that the hearing into the Level 3 charge against Anderson will be held on August 1 via videoconference

July 25
Jadeja is fined 50 per cent of his match fee by match referee David Boon. He is found of a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct

July 26
Dhoni tells the media in Southampton that the fine decision on Jadeja was a “very hurtful” one

July 27
ICC chief executive David Richardson seems upset at Cook and Dhoni’s utterances. “I request all stakeholders to respect the process which remains ongoing and remind them of their duties to the integrity of the process and the sport,” he said

July 30
BCCI appeals against the Level 1 charge against Ravindra Jadeja. “The appeal will be heard at the same time as the disciplinary hearing taking place in respect of the charge against Anderson on August 1 in Southampton,” said the ICC

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