The ICC has warned England and India captains Alistair Cook and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to stop commenting on the ongoing tensions between the two sides.
The first Test at Trent Bridge boiled over into a spat between James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja, with both players subsequently charged with misconduct by the game’s governing body.
A matter for the ICC
However, the ICC insist it is a matter for them alone, and that the captains’ comments are doing more harm than good.
In a statement addressed to both sides, the ICC asked that: “all stakeholders…respect the process which remains ongoing”, and said it wanted to “remind them of their duties to the integrity of the process and the sport”.
What the governing body may have overlooked is that as long as the hearings are ongoing, so is the ill-tempered nature of the series. In such a climate, Cook and Dhoni choosing to speak out to defend their players is somewhat inevitable.
Cook condemned India for making “a mountain out of a molehill” from the situation, and Jadeja received a hostile reception from the Lord’s crowd during the second Test.
Dhoni, meanwhile, said it was “hurtful” that Jadeja is being punished, though the general consensus from the pavilion appears to be that the confrontation was six of one and half a dozen of the other.
“I don’t think there was a bit of aggression (from Jadeja)”, the wicket-keeper added.
Spat at Trent Bridge
India were the first to react after Anderson and Jadeja initially clashed on the pitch, before taking their differences into the tunnel. The England seamer has been accused of a Level Three offence of violent conduct, while Jadeja has already been fined for his part in the incident.
Anderson’s hearing will take place on August 1st, but he has been allowed to play for the Three Lions in the meantime. If found guilty, he could face a four-Test ban.
England fear Dhoni’s remarks will carry more weight with the ICC, as he was Jadeja’s batting partner as the two teams broke for lunch.
The conflict is still a bone of contention, even two Tests on. What started as the highlight of an otherwise pedestrian draw in the first Test appears to be spurring England on as they try and level the series after their defeat in the second match.
At a personal level, Anderson took his revenge with Jadeja’s wicket at Lord’s, but that could mean little if the ICC choose to take India’s side over the matter.