The ICC-appointed judicial commissioner, Gordon Lewis, after a six-hour-long hearing here, felt that James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja had not breached the Code of Conduct. This meant that the Level-3 charge against the English pacer, levied by the Indians, for abusing and pushing Jadeja was dropped, making him available for the final two Tests of the series. Jadeja’s fine of 50 per cent of his match fee, imposed on him by match referee David Boon after the initial hearing, too was dropped.
The not-guilty verdict against Anderson left the Indian camp shocked and disappointed as the English pacer, in his witness statement, had confessed to pushing and abusing Jadeja. But he went on to add that he did this in self-defence.
The Indians did provide the video evidence but the tapes they provided didn’t capture the entire incident. The footage obtained from ICC’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit (ACSU) camera was of the stairs leading to the dressing room but not the corridor where the incident took place.
The video showed the team’s trainer Evan Speechly and skipper M S Dhoni suddenly turning back and walking down the step towards the area from where the players are entering the pavilion, apparently after hearing the commotion because of Anderson pushing Jadeja.
The on-field tapes, played at the hearing, showed the umpires asking Anderson to show restraint as he is seen to be constantly talking to Jadeja on the central square and on the way to the dressing room at lunch time.
The Indians felt it was the unrecorded ‘corridor of uncertainty’ that saved Anderson. The BCCI is planning to take up the issue with the ICC since it feels according to the ACSU norm the corridor too needs to have a camera.
With no visual evidence the judicial commissioner had to bank on the statements of the witnesses from both the sides. It was now the case of one team’s word against another. “Witnesses, including some Indian and English players, provided evidence and were cross-examined by the respective legal counsel,” the ICC said in its statement.
It is learnt that the English players — Ben Stokes, Matt Prior and Stuart Broad — insisted that Jadeja had provoked Anderson. Consistent in their statement, they said Jadeja lunged towards Anderson aggressively. On the other hand, the Indians said at the hearing that the all-rounder hadn’t uttered a word nor had been aggressive in his reaction.
The BCCI hands were tied at the hearing since their legal counsel were merely there at the hearing to defend Jadeja, which they successfully did. Since it was ICC’s case against Anderson, the BCCI lawyers were not involved in the cross-examination of the England’s witnesses.
The inquiry started at 9 am at the hotel where the team was staying. While the rest of the team moved to Manchester, the venue for the next Test, Jadeja, along with Dhoni, coach Duncan Fletcher, manager Sunil Dev, witnesses Gautam Gambhir and R Ashwin stayed back.