England captain Alastair Cook on Wednesday hit back at India for accusing James Anderson of physical altercation with Ravindra Jadeja and claimed that targetting their pace spearhead ahead of the second cricket Test was a “tactical” move by the visitors.
Cook claimed that Anderson has been specifically targeted by India ahead of the second Test starting at Lord’s tomorrow. The English pacer was yesterday charged for allegedly “abusing and pushing” Jadeja while walking out for the Trent Bridge pavilion at lunch on the second day of the first Test.
“Yes I think so. This is tactical from India,” Cook said when when asked specifically if Anderson had been targeted.
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“This is where all of this has come from. We are surprised it has come to a situation like this to be honest. Level 3 charge is very surprising. It is also possibly because of his competitive streak and it should be about just one incident.
“After hearing Jimmy’s version, it is a mountain out of a molehill to be honest,” he added.
Anderson, who scored a career-best 81 in England’s second innings to win the man of the match award, rubbished the charges and was backed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, which filed counter-allegations against Jadeja.
“I didn’t see the incident to be honest. We had a discussion with Peter Moores and Jimmy, and we spoke to the hierarchy at the ECB as well. Yes, there has been a counter charge levelled against Jadeja,” Cook confirmed.
The small turn-around time between the first and second Test means that there will not be enough time for ICC’s judicial enquiry into the matter. And therfore Anderson is expected to play at Lord’s.
Cook, however, said that the Trent Bridge incident won’t act as a “distraction” for the hosts in the second Test.
“No it is not a distraction at all. It has been between Jimmy and me, and the other players have not been affected at all. This cannot be a distraction for us and we don’t want to give any excuses after five days. In fact, I think this situation is better for me as captain, because the team won’t need any motivation. If it helps bring the side together, that will be great for us,” said Cook.
“All the lads are rallying around Jimmy. He’s an outstanding bowler. I am sure he will get the ball swinging at certain points in this Test match and come out firing and let his bowling do the talking. He is desperate to do well for England,” he added.
There is a fear that this may lead to frayed tempers between the two sides during the second Test and even in the rest of the series, with four Tests still to go as well as a long ODI rubber to follow.
But Cook hoped the accusations will not sour relations between the two teams.
“We have a responsibility as players for England. In the heat of the battle sometimes emotions flare up. Both MS Dhoni and I have a responsibility to make sure to control our players and not to let that happen. We have a responsibility to ICC rules and to the people who are watching the game,” said the English skipper.
Due to the Trent Bridge incident, the second Test has taken a little back-seat, but there was still some cricket talk around with Cook insisting that the hosts will aim for an outright result in the match.
“It looks a good wicket and has a good covering of grass. If it is shaved off then we will see if we want to play two spinners and bring in Simon Kerrigan in his second Test. He will be eager to prove his worth after a forgettable showing last year (in Ashes),” Cook said about his team combination.
“Wickets at Lord’s tend to be good wickets, especially for the batsmen when the sun is out. We just want some pace and edges to carry. We definitely want a result in this match,” he signed off.