|Ravindra Jadeja and James Anderson
Calcutta: Gordon Lewis, the ICC-appointed judicial commissioner who heard the misconduct charges against James Anderson, said that “ironically” it was the BCCI counsel that helped him make his mind up that the England pacer could not be considered guilty.
Lewis said Anderson was deemed not guilty as there wasn’t enough evidence to impose sanctions.
In his written verdict as published by ESPNcricinfo, Lewis has said that he was not “comfortably satisfied” given the lack of audio or video evidence, or a detailed neutral witness, that Anderson was guilty.
Lewis said he found the witnesses to be extremely biased in favour of their own team, and the only neutral witness — a Trent Bridge steward — said he didn’t see much.
“I considered the different standards of proof pertaining to charges at different levels under the Code, and with a Level 3 charge the penalty could be four to eight suspension points or 2 to 4 Test matches. In monetary terms, the loss of between $A40,000 and $A80,000 approx.
“In my view, with potential penalties that severe, for me to be ‘comfortably satisfied’ pursuant to Article 6.1, something close to beyond reasonable doubt was required,” Lewis was quoted as saying .
“I then turned my mind to downgrading the charge to Level 2 pursuant to Article 7.6.5. I considered whether I could be comfortably satisfied that an offence at that level had been committed when the sanction for a first offence potentially equated to between $A10,000 and $A30,000 (the fees payable as half of Anderson’s fee in the second Test and his payment for a further full Test match).
“When a Tribunal is dealing with someone’s livelihood, sanctions of that magnitude, in my view, certainly require a standard of proof that is more than on the balance of probabilities and, again, I was not satisfied that an onus requiring a standard of proof at that higher level, had been discharged,” he explained.
Anderson was facing a charge under Level 3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players, following allegations that he pushed and abused Jadeja during the lunch break on the second day of the first Test.
“As I reflected on the evidence and the final submissions made by the representatives of the parties, I turned my mind to a possible downgrading of the charge to Level 1. At this point, Mr Adam Lewis’s (Jadeja’s counsel) final submission became relevant. He was helpfully guessing at what might have happened and inadvertently inviting me to do the same.
“And whatever a Tribunal should or should not do, is to guess to achieve an outcome. In short, I do not know on the evidence, and to the relevant standard of proof, what happened in the corridor leading to the stairway in those few seconds after the batsmen and fielding side came in for lunch. I cannot be comfortably satisfied as to the truth of either version of the evidence,” Lewis stated.
“During that submission Mr (Adam) Lewis posited his ‘two push theory’ for which there was not an iota of supporting evidence,” the commissioner said in his verdict. “And that submission I suspect came from Mr Lewis’s frustration in trying to make sense out of two totally conflicting versions of the evidence. It was an effort to find an explanation for the inexplicable, based on the conflicting evidence the tribunal had heard.”
Jadeja had allegedly stated that “Anderson continued to abuse him in the corridor and had ultimately pushed him in the back.”
The account of the only “closest to unbiased” witness, Trent Bridge steward David Doyle, wasn’t exhaustive. Doyle said in his written statement that he saw Jadeja turn around. “I couldn’t see who exactly he was heading towards.”
“Essentially, the Indian position is that without provocation, Anderson pushed Jadeja in the back causing him to turn around,” Lewis’s verdict said. “Jadeja said Anderson continued to abuse him in the corridor and had ultimately pushed him in the back and told him to ‘f***ing go back to the dressing room’.
“Jadeja denies any aggression on his part and particularly he denies that he ever turned around or did anything that could be considered aggressive on his part.
“According to Anderson’s version, it was Jadeja who was the aggressor and without provocation. In the corridor, as they approached the steps that led upstairs, Anderson said that Jadeja turned around and aggressively came towards him and ‘got right up in my face’. He said he instinctively put up his hands as Jadeja still had a cricket bat in his hand.
“Importantly Anderson denies pushing Jadeja in the back or in any way provoking him after entering the corridor. Obviously one version of the facts must be untrue, but the existing CCTV image is unhelpful and the witnesses hopelessly biased in favour of one party or the other.”