Express investigation part-II: My loudspeaker versus your loudspeaker
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Ball is back in ICC court

BCCI asks the world body’s CEO to appeal against the verdict that cleared Anderson.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Updated: August 6, 2014 10:15 am
England's James Anderson during a training session at Old Trafford on Tuesday (Source: Reuters) England’s James Anderson during a training session at Old Trafford on Tuesday (Source: Reuters)

The BCCI has raised two major objections with the ICC regarding the handling of the Anderson-Jadeja saga that ended with both players being found not guilty. In a letter to ICC chief executive David Richardson, which was accessed by The Indian Express, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel has not only stressed on the board’s disgruntlement with the clean-chit handed out to the England pacer but also expressed concern over steward David Doyle’s involvement in the judicial proceedings. By persuading the ICC to exercise its right of appealing the verdict of judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis, the Indian board has now thrown the ball in the world body’s court.

The BCCI have classified their two grouses as being the ICC’s position in the ‘case against Anderson’ and ‘the numerous procedural issues which have arisen in relation to the matter under the Code of Conduct’. “The BCCI was consequently disappointed that the Judicial Commissioner did not impose any sanction on Mr Anderson notwithstanding the abusive and threatening language that he directed towards the Indian batsmen and notwithstanding the fact that Mr Anderson admitted that he pushed Ravindra Jadeja,” the letter said.

On Tuesday, an ICC press release confirmed that it had received Lewis’ written decision and that Richardson had until August 10 to lodge an appeal against it.

Following a lengthy hearing held last Friday in Southampton, commissioner Lewis had pointed at a lack of video evidence and biased testimonies to pass a not-guilty verdict on Anderson, despite the fast bowler having admitted to have pushed Jadeja, which was the original Level 3 charge laid against him. But it is the testimony of Doyle, the steward who was positioned at the bottom of the stairs leading to the changing room at Trent Bridge and was witness to the alleged incident between the two cricketers, that has irked the BCCI.

Doyle had initially submitted a written statement alleging that Jadeja had suddenly turned around and walked in the direction of the England players before Dhoni had stopped him. In their letter, the BCCI have claimed that this statement was inappropriately provided to the ECB, which in a way gave them an unfair advantage when it came to conjuring a Level-2 offence charge against Jadeja in response to the one laid on Anderson by the Indian team management.

‘A Tactical step’

Patel has claimed that Doyle was used as a ‘prosecution witness’ by the ECB, and that the English board had relied singularly on the evidence provided by him.

“The BCCI considers that it was inappropriate for the statement of Mr Doyle, and the other stewards, to have been provided to the ECB in advance of them responding to the charge against Mr Anderson. By doing so the ECB was not only able to construct a defence to that charge but to construct a case against Ravindra Jadeja,” Patel’s letter said. The BCCI have gone on to call the complaint against Jadeja as a ‘tactical step’ to enhance their defence of Anderson.

The letter also questions the position taken by Lewis regarding umpire Bruce Oxenford’s testimony, calling it ‘unsatisfactory’. “I heard Anderson use foul and abusive language to Dhoni. In particular I heard Anderson say “you’re a f***ing fat c**t” to Dhoni,” umpire Oxenford had revealed in his written statement to Lewis. But the Australian official hadn’t deemed the language ‘sufficiently serious’ to lodge a report about the incident to match referee David Boon.

“The position which Mr Lewis appears to have taken is that, by virtue of Mr Oxenford not charging Anderson for foul and abusive language on the field, Mr Anderson had free reign to use such language against the Indian players,” Patel wrote, explaining the BCCI’s stance.

Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference in the build-up to the fourth Test in Manchester, England’s veteran middle-order batsman Ian Bell chose to play down the Anderson issue. In fact he went on to compliment his teammate’s tenacity in the midst of all the chaos around him. “I am sure all other players will do the same and we would rather focus on a good series rather than talking about one incident that got blown out of proportion,” he said.

But the BCCI are in no mood to let things stand as they are, and in addition to asking the ICC to hand them a transcript of the proceedings held before Lewis, have reiterated that they consider this a serious matter despite the ECB’s stubborn stance claiming that it was nothing but a ‘minor issue’.

Now all eyes will be on Richardson, the former South African wicketkeeper-turned-adminstrator, to see whether he toes the line of the judicial commissioner’s verdict or challenges it.

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