Paceman James Anderson has no need to tone down his aggression when England and India renew their rivalry in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Thursday, according to Alastair Cook.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday ruled out launching an appeal against the decision to clear the fast bowler of a code of conduct breach for his altercation in the first Test with India’s Ravindra Jadeja.
But ICC chief executive Dave Richardson took the opportunity to warn players against the use of offensive language on the field “that is personally insulting of one player by another”.
England captain Cook, however, will not ask Anderson – the leading wicket-taker in the series so far with 16 victims – to change his approach.
“I’m happy (with the way he plays),” Cook told reporters on the eve of the fourth Test.
“A little bit he might have overstepped the mark occasionally and in his career, but we want him to be on that line, not be too passive.
“Every time you pull on an England jersey we’re aware we’re role models for young kids, and anyone watching cricket, but we also want to play competitive cricket and not be too nicey-nicey.
“There’s always a muddied line … I think the way both sides have played (this series) has been fantastic.”
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said it was good for the game to have strong characters but insisted that any player who crossed the line should be punished.
“Foul language should not be used, I don’t think,” Dhoni told reporters. “If an individual does not curb his instincts that’s an instance where he should be punished.
“What’s important is to realise that strong characters are needed in the game – it does not matter whether it’s him (Anderson) or another individual from another team.
“But umpires need to step in if an individual crosses the line.”
Cook welcomed the decision to clear Lancashire’s Anderson to play on his home ground at Old Trafford.
“It’s nice for Jimmy,” Cook said. “He’s been less grumpy in the past couple of days.
“It’s great the whole incident is behind us. It’s very special for every guy to play a home Test, and one of his biggest concerns was that he wouldn’t be able to play at Old Trafford.”
England beat India by 266 runs in Southampton at the end of last month to tie the five-match series at 1-1, and Cook and coach Peter Moores have to decide whether to change a winning side.
Anderson could be joined in England’s attack by Steven Finn, whose previous Test was the opener against Australia last July and who was sent home from the winter Ashes tour of Australia after suffering a breakdown in confidence and his action.
Finn has regained both on the English county circuit this season and is pushing for a place in England’s starting XI.
“It’s been a tough six months (for Finn) to fight through it,” Cook said. “But he will be a stronger bloke for it.
“He gives us something different (in terms of his height and bounce), and it’s nice to add him to the pile of fast bowlers.
“You try to pick the best team but you want to balance that with continuity (of selection).”