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Ravindra Jadeja and James Anderson’s altercation left an uneasy mark on the whole series. Thing heated up when MS Dhoni expressed his disgust at Jadeja’s fine. All the attention was then on Anderson’s hearing, in which the England fast bowler admitted to pushing Jadeja. Why then is there an indecisive verdict? Nishad Pai Vaidya looks into the implications of this case.
It was much ado about nothing, as some people on the social media suggested. Or was it? The tension between the two warring factions was apparent during the last two Tests and it peaked when skipper MS Dhoni expressed his disgust at the verdict against Ravindra Jadeja. But the heat was on James Anderson, who had allegedly committed a bigger offence of a more physical and intimidating nature. It is all shrouded in mystery with both sides sticking by their versions. In the end, we can all leave it to conjecture as to what really transpired.
Years from now, when people will look back at this verdict, they may get the impression that it was all a non-issue. Two sides, leveling serious allegations against each other and the authorities have ultimately brushed it aside. It is as if two fighting children went up to their teacher, only to be sent back with a favourable verdict. All this has come after the match referee David Boon, fined Jadeja 50 percent of his match-fee after finding him guilty of a level 1 charge. There was supposedly some video evidence recovered, two Englishmen claiming Jadeja himself was threatening and the Indian captain was standing by his side.
This is quite clearly a verdict to push the issue under the carpet, indecisive in the sense that it can’t determine who is at fault! The one positive one can see is that it has been put aside for good and they can now get on with the game. This cloud cast a shadow over the series and threatened to mar the action on the field of play. Over the passage of time, tempers would have flared, leading to repeated ugly altercations. This is exactly what happened during the Monkeygate scandal when the whole process took time and the teams never recovered from its aftermath.
But, the question remains: If Anderson did admit that he pushed Jadeja, then why do we have such a verdict? Anderson accepted the charge, but said that there was no malice intended. His teammates claim Jadeja was in the wrong as he had also charged threateningly. But, if the altercation did become physical in nature, one party does deserve punishment. Last week, Shoaib Malik was fined for physical contact with Tino Best after the latter allegedly abused him. While Best copped a higher fine, Malik had merely caught his shoulder to stop him and let him know he wasn’t happy. Doesn’t Anderson’s push or Jadeja’s threatening charge seem more serious.
How can there be no violation of the Code of Conduct when one person has admitted to pushing the other? That the other’s role is still disputed is a different question. Here, you have one player who admitted that he had physical contact with the other. And yet, you do not penalise him. There is no sense in this whole scenario as both sides now walk away from this. But, there are some reports that the Indian board isn’t happy with this and may prolong it. One way or the other, a party has to be found guilty in what has been an apparent conflict with Anderson’s admission.
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