Calcutta: Gordon Lewis, the International Cricket Council (ICC)-appointed judicial commissioner who sat in inquiry on the James Anderson-Ravindra Jadeja fracas, took no more than “two minutes” to pronounce both not guilty.
One can only term that speed as sensational.
According to a top source of The Telegraph, who was present in Southampton, on Friday, commissioner Lewis called for a “10-minute recess” after six hours of depositions and cross-examinations.
However, in “two minutes,” commissioner Lewis, who was holding court sitting in Melbourne, desired that everybody return to the videoconference room.
The legal teams of the ICC, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the England and Wales Cricket Board did exactly that and commissioner Lewis didn’t waste a second in pronouncing both players not guilty.
It’s learnt that India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the first “witness” to depose. He was followed by Ravichandran Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir and support staff member Evan Speechly.
Anderson’s witnesses followed.
“His Honour Lewis wasn’t obliged to give his verdict straightaway. He could have used the 48-hour window allowed by the rules, but chose not to keep anything hanging,” the top source pointed out.
Commissioner Lewis, who happens to be Australia’s first independent road safety camera commissioner, didn’t offer his reasons, though. He’s expected to furnish them formally (to the ICC, which is headquartered in Dubai) “as soon as possible.”
On Sunday, however, a website claimed to have had access to commissioner Lewis’s report, supposed to be termed “detailed judgement.”
Yet, till late at night, there was no confirmation from the ICC that commissioner Lewis’s “detailed judgement” had, indeed, been received.
Once the ICC receives the “detailed judgement,” CEO David Richardson would have seven days to decide whether to appeal or not.
Where the Anderson issue is concerned, the ICC is wearing the prosecutor’s hat. Officially, therefore, it’s entirely its call.
Should the appeal route be taken, with India doing everything it can behind the scenes, then the ICC’s head of legal, Iain Higgins, will have 48 hours to constitute an Appeal Panel.
According to the rules, the Appeal Panel must have three members, all of whom have to be drawn from the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission.
Obviously, commissioner Lewis (Australia’s nominee on the Commission) won’t be part of the Appeal Panel. India and England’s nominees won’t feature on it either.
Richardson, one understands, is expected to rejoin office on Monday. He’d taken leave for a short vacation, in Turkey.
Meanwhile, one wonders whether anybody in the Board would have the courage to ask for an explanation for the botch-up in Southampton.
Will anybody ever be taken to task for turning the fracas (at Trent Bridge) into such a massive prestige issue and the Board then being made to look rather silly?
Given the way the Board operates that would, perhaps, be hoping for too much.