India need Perth encore

The setback in Jadeja-Anderson case should motivate Dhoni's men

India need Perth encore

No one has said it openly so far. But Indians will be feeling hard done by Judicial Commissioner Gordon Lewis’ decision to let James Anderson off the hook in the incident with Ravindra Jadeja, sighting lack of video evidence.

A sense of being wronged haunts the Indians now, and they might be feeling that their words were not given due consideration in a case that eventually boiled down to each team’s version. Now, they need to transform that hurt into performance in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, starting on August 7.

India were in a similar position against Australia in 2008 after the Sydney Test. A slew of erroneous decisions by umpire Steve Bucknor tilted the balance of the match in favour of Australia, who won that second Test by 122 runs. Then there was also the much chronicled ‘Monkey-gate episode, and India entered the third Test at Perth determined to do something special.

Ishant Sharma provided the first spark with that wonderful spell against Ricky Ponting that instilled a new energy in others. Then RP Singh and Irfan Pathan chipped in with crucial contributions as India registered an epochal 72-run victory.

Ishant is part of this squad too but the pacer will not be on the field to inspire his colleagues, after getting ruled out of the match with a sore leg. But there is another man in this side who was part of that historic five days at the WACA.

Nearly seven years ago, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a junior member of a side that had some modern day titans in it. He was a long haired upstart who landed India a World T20 title, but still building his reputation as a Test player.

But now he is the most successful Indian captain across formats and a canny leader of men around him. A man rarely shows his emotions openly, Dhoni was candid when asked about the 50 per cent fine imposed on Jadeja by match referee David Boon, a decision that was later revoked.

The Jharkhand man then termed it as a “hurtful decision” because he was convinced that Jadeja was not at fault. With that same conviction, Dhoni maintained that the case of a Level 3 offence against Anderson should go its full legal extent. The English press mocked it as an effort from the Indians to take out Anderson, the most experienced and potent English bowler from the equation.

While the home media have their reasons to believe so, it also shrouded with their ignorance about Dhoni the man. He has his own shortcomings, as each one of us, as a person and skipper but Dhoni does not fall into the category of those who specialize in under-the-table dealings.

As such, there’s no reason to doubt Dhoni’s motive in firmly standing by his colleague. In that context, Dhoni might be the most disappointed man because the Indians persisted with the case solely at his behest.

After an aggressive approach in the first two Tests, Dhoni had looked a bit jaded as captain, going back to his four-bowler strategy and defensive tactics. It was a massive climb down from the beginning of the series when he bristled with intent.

The Anderson saga might just work as much-needed tonic for Dhoni, fuelling his attacking instincts and that, in turn, could spur the entire team.

Indians sweat it out

Indian team was away from the field for the last three days after losing the third Test at Southampton by a massive 266 runs. On a bright Monday, they returned to action mode, hitting the nets in excess of two hours.

The focal point of session was the fitness of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The right-arm medium pacer had suffered a swollen ankle post the Ageas Bowl Test. He bowled for nearly 10 minutes with a short run-up before he took rest.

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