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England’s tit-for-tat as James is charged

London: England on Tuesday followed through with their threat to cite Ravindra Jadeja in a tit-for-tat measure after India accused James Anderson of physically and verbally abusing their left-arm spin bowler at Trent Bridge.

Anderson, the kingpin of the England bowling attack, faces the prospect of a minimum two-Test ban if he is found guilty of the level three charge by an ICC judicial commissioner.

With the series due to continue at Lord’s from Thursday, Anderson was said to be “bemused” at the reaction by India to what the ECB described as a “minor” altercation in a statement issued before the ICC confirmed that the complaint had been formally lodged.

Anderson allegedly abused and pushed Jadeja once they were inside the pavilion after leaving the field for lunch during the second day of the first Test last Thursday. This followed a verbal altercation on their way from the middle.

England were unaware of any complaint until two days ago when they were advised by the ICC to try to sort out the matter directly with India before it escalated into something more serious through the series.

However, talks between Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, and officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India did not broker peace and The Times understands that Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain, was particularly keen for Anderson to answer formal charges.

If he is found guilty, Anderson will face a ban of between two and four Test matches, but the time frame is such that the matter is unlikely to be determined until after the third Test at the Ageas Bowl, which starts on July 27.

England have decided to lay counter-charges against Jadeja at the less serious level two tier in the ICC Code of Conduct, which would bring a maximum sentence of only a one-Test ban and/or a fine. Had they responded in kind at level three and suggested that both parties were equally guilty that may have been construed as admission of the magnitude of the spat.

In the statement, the ECB said that it was “surprised” at the allegation. It said: “James Anderson categorically denies the accusations made against him and the ECB have pledged their total support for the player.”

Privately, England may well feel that India, with an eye for a chance, are prepared to sacrifice Jadeja if it means the home side will be without Anderson, the man of the match at Trent Bridge.