|Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Calcutta: India’s cricketers, who’re currently in England, are understood to be in a state of “ekdum khush nahin” following judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis’s clean chit to James Anderson.
That Ravindra Jadeja’s fine got overturned, at the same hearing, in Southampton on Friday, hasn’t brought any cheer.
“What to talk about the mood? Players ekdum khush nahin hain... It’s as simple as that,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph, from Manchester, on Saturday evening.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men remain convinced that Anderson crossed the line in the first Test, at Trent Bridge.
Had adequate CCTV footage been available, then it could have been a different story. Some footage, it seems, was presented as evidence but it contained nothing of the corridor between the dressing rooms.
Dhoni, significantly, appeared as a witness at the hearing. As did Gautam Gambhir and Ravichandran Ashwin. A member of the support staff as well.
Captain Alastair Cook and Matt Prior are among those who testified on behalf of Anderson.
Both captains have been defending their players to the maximum extent possible.
As things stand, barring the solicitors, everybody else is counting losses after the International Cricket Council (ICC)-appointed judicial commissioner found both Anderson and Jadeja not guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct.
India have received the biggest blow, but it hasn’t been all roses for England and Match Referee David Boon either.
Because Boon, acting on a complaint lodged by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), found Jadeja guilty of a Level I offence and imposed a fine amounting to 50 per cent of the all-rounder’s match fee.
That got overturned by the judicial commissioner.
Incidentally, Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, a former Sri Lanka captain, takes over from Boon for the last two Tests — at Old Trafford and at The Oval.
For the ECB, it’s not much of a loss of face, but there’s plenty of egg right across the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which turned on the heat, apparently at Dhoni’s nudging.
A Level III charge is grave and, having upped the ante, the BCCI must now bear the consequences.
Among other things, the BCCI may have to end up paying around £200,000 as fees for the legal team.
The ECB could have to fork out far less — £50,000 or thereabouts.
Technically, the BCCI cannot appeal against the judicial commissioner’s decision, but it may ‘compel’ the ICC’s CEO, David Richardson, to do so.
Under the Code of Conduct, Richardson (acting on behalf of the State, so to say) has the right to do so.
Globally, the BCCI is known to arm-twist, so nothing should be discounted. Moreover, India’s Narayanswamy Srinivasan is the ICC chairman.
Srinivasan is effectively suspended as the BCCI president, but it’s foolish to assume he’s in the dark about the goings-on.
Richardson wasn’t available for comment as he’s in Turkey on a brief vacation.
According to a top source, who spoke from London, the judicial commissioner “hadn’t” given his reasons till 24 hours after the hearing concluded.
“Nobody can react till the order has been received by the ICC and the two Boards. Before taking any stand, you have to study the judicial commissioner’s reasoning,” the gentleman said.
Meanwhile, eyebrows have been raised over the IPL’s COO, Sundar Raman, being one of the BCCI’s representatives at the hearing.
Well, those not in the know may note that Raman is Srinivasan’s man. His “eyes and ears,” really.
Also present was M.V. Sridhar, the BCCI’s general manager, cricket operations. He’d been the assistant manager on the 2007-08 tour of Australia when the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal landed Harbhajan Singh before Justice John Hansen.
Sridhar had done much of the “paperwork” back then and, so, was deemed familiar with the workings of a judicial commissioner.
Manager Sunil Dev was around as well, but it couldn’t be confirmed to what extent he was involved in the hearing.
Harbhajan, by the way, wasn’t found to have hurled a racist taunt at Andrew Symonds. He was, however, slapped with a fine.
Footnote: Spearhead Anderson, one learns, is “delighted” that he doesn’t have to live with the “stain” of having allegedly turned physical with a fellow-cricketer.