Once upon a time at Trent Bridge, there was a bowler named James Anderson; one of the best in the business.
Not known to be very gentlemanly with his approach towards the game, Anderson started to sledge Ravindra Jadeja after he appealed for a caught behind when he thought he had his man. The spat began, and ended up in total mess.
That was a laconic version of all the rubbish that took place in Nottingham. Interesting isn't it? Being one of the best doesn't necessarily mean you are behave ethically on the field.
Sledging is a part of the modern game and you have to accept that. Abjure it and an Aussie will beat you death. Mitchell Johnson, Dale Steyn they all do it? Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Lillee, Merv Hughes, Larwood, Willis they all did it too. So I might say sledging is in a fast bowler's blood and his birth right.
When you sledge, you know there are certain boundaries and some cricketing gods are crying for you to stop. When you cross your limits, sledging becomes a shame. In Anderson's case, it did end up as a shameful act.
I feel bad saying that as an English fan and as an Anderson fan, but from a writer's point of view I can't just let him off the hook. A bowler who sits comfortably in the elite groups of best fast bowlers of the past and even the modern generation, what the Burnley lad did at Trent Bridge made English cricket look bad and even he accepts that it wan't in the spirit.
I won't talk much about the physical contact because it'd be pointless discussing about it as we don't know if it was in self-defense or an act done in aggression. If it wasn't in self-defense, it'd be horrible on the Lanky's part, if it was in self-defense, Jadeja must be taken o by the ICC.
Leaving it aside though, the question I want to raise is what is the point of saying that he'll break Jadeja's teeth and swearing at him even when on the way to dressing room? This gung-ho kind of behaviour is acceptable to some degree on the field, but off the field, it does look poor indeed.
BCCI handled the matter poorly
I've always been critical of BCCI for several reasons. Paul Downton as we know went to Duncan Fletcher to discuss about the matter and reduce the charge to Level 2 which was very sensible indeed because he knew Anderson wouldn't normally have done that.
BCCI might have quite easily agreed and closed the matter before it could become so hot a topic. The Indian board decided otherwise and chose to make it public and make a gargantuan issue out of it. Ultimately, they have ended up embarrassing themselves.
ECB on the other hand still have their heads up as Anderson has been cleared. Jadeja on the other hand was even fined and that was an even bitter pill for BCCI to swallow.
When Pollard threw a bat at Starc in the IPL, the BCCI weren't too eager to ban both the players as of course it was a matter of publicity back then and the earnings of the IPL, its TRPs. They could have banned Pollard by giving the reason of protecting their players' interests but they instead chose to just fine him.
Now though, when arguably the world's best bowler pushes one of their players, they are not very amused and want the bowler to be banned. The reasons I make of it are 1; They are not earning anything out of this spat and 2; It also gives them a better chance of winning the series.
Any other cricketing board would have cleared up the issue without taking it to ICC, but BCCI in this case have acted poorly. I might as well say that they just couldn't take the sledging more than anything.
We know that India can't sledge and that is the reason they can't bear anyone sledging them, someone getting under their skin. Even the ECB could have gone to the ICC to get Clarke banned as he threatened to break Anderson's arm, but they didn't and acted rather maturely and let the ICC do what they wanted and not what the board wanted them to.
I'm not saying that the BCCI were wrong in protecting their player's interests, my point is that it was the way they handled it that puts them at fault. Had they agreed with Downton, the 32-year-old might have been fined but what have they got now? Ignominy seems the answer.
Cricket unfortunately isn't the thing being discussed and rather it is the spats being talked about. What a shame indeed.