Pacer Anderson needs to mend his behaviour

Pacer Anderson needs to mend his behaviour

At the end of it all, James Anderson has been let off the hook without a ban for allegedly pushing and abusing Ravindra Jadeja, solely because of the lack of video evidence.

Gordon Lewis, the ICC-appointed Judicial Commissioner, might be well within his right to pass that verdict, but that doesn’t mean Andesron’s ways have been vindicated.

The Lancashire pacer is an acknowledged master of sledging, an art perfected over the years. Anderson often stands mid-pitch with his mouth covered before ‘talking’ to the batsmen so that the stump micro-phones can’t pick up his words.

However, Anderson needs to remind himself that he is the senior most England bowler, someone who has already bagged more than 350 Test wickets. He has wonderful natural ability to swing the ball, and can dismiss batsmen without having to resort to verbal assault.

Veteran cricket writer, Scyld Berry made a similar point in his coloumn in The Telegraph. “... But Anderson has to channel his energies better. He is second in England’s all-time list of Test wicket-takers, after Sir Ian Botham and ahead of Bob Willis and Fred Trueman.

But Anderson is now in a class of one among England’s all-time greats when it comes to sledging. Now, it is an overt torrent of abuse for all to see, and it is ugly,” wrote Berry.

Some of the best fast bowlers in the history had seldom relied on sledging to take wickets. The great West Indian fast bowlers like Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding or Andy Roberts never resorted to verbal volleys, but their craft itself carried enough intimidation.

However, Peter Moores, the England coach, justified Anderson saying: “Jimmy plays it hard on the field, and that’s what, I think, international sport is.” 

You can play hard game on the field, but targeting an opposition player off it is more suited for a thug rather than an international sportsperson, who has the duty to be a role model for the society.

From an Indian point of view, they would be aghast that Anderson was given an easy way out because their Level 3 charge didn’t have the support of video evidence. Once the case was down to one team’s words against the other, India’s chances of getting a desired outcome from the hearing were vanished.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni would take this very hard because he was the one who wanted this case to be pushed to the end, despite hesitance from powers-that-be in the BCCI. Dhoni had made his thoughts on the issue public in Southampton, stating that it would be tough for him to restrain one of his players from retaliating in kind if such an episode gets repeated. How awful that scenario would be?

Certainly, Dhoni would be disappointed but he should make sure that his players travel within the lines, and a similar responsibility lies with Alastair Cook. Cook needs to remind Anderson of his stature as a premier bowler – not just of England that is – and behave in a better manner.

After all, it can’t be forgotten that a cricket series is moving swiftly towards an exhilarating climax.

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