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The International Cricket Council (ICC) came out in defence of David Boon over his decision to impose the 50 percent fine on Ravindra Jadeja for his alleged role in the pushgate incident. MS Dhoni expressed his disappointment at the decision as the drama continues to unfold, even though the facts are disputed between the two sides. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes that the ICC should handle this better so that it doesn’t become another Moneygate.
For a man who usually maintains his calm and bears a smile at press conferences, skipper MS Dhoni didn’t mince his words before the Southampton Test. Dhoni expressed dissatisfaction at Ravindra Jadeja being fined for the alleged row with James Anderson during the Nottingham Test. Some of his words were compelling: if someone turns to look what happened, is that aggression? It was quite an uncharacteristic reaction to the whole saga, with both sides sticking to their versions of the event. Would we ever know what is the truth?
The fact that the alleged ‘pushgate’ happened away from the glaring eyes of the camera add to the uncertainty. It is only the player’s versions and the supposed CCTV footage. Yet, everything is shrouded in mystery. There are also reports that Ben Stokes and Matt Prior testified against Jadeja, saying that he had been threatening towards Anderson. Now, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked Dhoni and Alastair Cook to refrain from making statements and that David Boon exercised his powers fairly.
What does one do in such situations? We have two sides, with their own tales and the adjudicators claiming they have been fair. One can’t help but go back to the Monkeygate scandal of 2008. It was an episode that truly shook the cricket world and exposed certain lacunae in the framework to deal with such cases. One can’t ascertain for sure what happened in the middle. The umpires may be in the middle, but there are times when they may be attending to other matters.
Back in 2008, the whole dispute was whether Harbhajan Singh used a racially offensive word. After days of deliberations, flaring tempers, hearings etc. it was accepted that he used an expletive in his native language which was similar to the forbidden word. But, that whole process was time consuming and dragged on for days. There was an initial ban and then an appeal. It didn’t help matters on the field as the teams kept having duels and it was largely an acrimonious tour. The fact that it stretched for quite a while, only made things tougher on the field.
Look at the way FIFA dealt with the Luis Suarez incident. The length of the ban is a different subject, but the FIFA were quick to deal with it and imposed their reprimand within two days; the appeal too was disposed off quickly. Compare that with the current incident. Yes, the facts aren’t as prima facie as the Suarez case, but it certainly has been dragged along. Jadeja’s hearing took place almost two weeks after that Test match. Anderson will face his hearing only after the ongoing Test at Southampton, which is almost three weeks after the alleged incident.
While it may inject some energy in the players, to go out there and perform, it isn’t good for the game. The ICC has to come up with frameworks to deal with such situations in a much quicker way. The thing about such incidents is that if they aren’t settled for a period of time, they only get worse and the case gets more complicated. One hopes, this incident doesn’t become another Monkeygate!
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