London: James Anderson has said the fall-out from his row with Ravindra Jadeja helped him star in a 3-1 Test series win over India.
England wrapped up the five-match contest with a colossal innings and 244-run victory, completed inside three days, at The Oval on Sunday.
Spearhead seamer Anderson was named England’s Man-of-the-Series after taking 25 wickets at an average of 20.60 as he made inroads into an ever-more fallible India top order.
Anderson’s sparkling form prompted a succession of increasingly low totals that culminated with the visitors’ humiliating 94 all out in their second innings at The Oval.
But had India had their way, Anderson would not have been playing at all by that stage.
Indian management brought a Level-3 charge under the ICC’s Code of Conduct, alleging he had “abused and pushed” Jadeja in a pavilion incident during the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.
The charges were dismissed by ICC Code of Conduct commissioner Gordon Lewis, who also rescinded the 50 per cent match fee fine imposed on Jadeja by Match Referee David Boon.
However, what did emerge from the hearing was Anderson’s fondness for some pretty crude ‘sledging’ or verbal abuse of opposition batsmen out in the middle.
And in the light of that, Anderson said he had tried to let his bowling, above all else, do the talking for him.
“Possibly, in the last few games, I have concentrated more on being aggressive with the ball rather than my mouth,” Anderson said.
“I think I tried to be as aggressive. Whether I tried to say any less, I don’t know. But I think the Jadeja incident made me more determined to perform on the field.
“At Southampton, when the stuff was going on around before and after the game (the Lancashire pacer had his hearing the day after England’s series-levelling victory), we were so focused on winning that game, and since then we’ve not let India back into the series.”
However, Anderson insisted he was not about to abandon his aggressive on-field style that he believes has been a key to a career that has now seen him take 380 wickets in 99 Tests. Only all-round great Ian Botham, with 383, has taken more Test wickets for England.
“If I do get there I’ll be happy that people stop talking about it because it’s driving me a bit mad. I’m loving at the minute playing in this team, and seeing how Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan have improved in the last three games.
“Cooky (Alastair Cook) can have so much confidence in knowing that they can back me and Broady up brilliantly and do exactly the same job that we do.
“The reason I struggled, I think, in the early part of my career is because I was the timid, shy character that I am off the field when I was on it,” said the 32-year-old Anderson.
“That didn’t help me. And working with people to try to get the best out of me, we found that it was best if I tried to be aggressive.
“What’s helped me in the last five or six years is the fact I’ve been aggressive on the field and had the odd word. I’ve tried not to cross the line. And that’s why the umpires are there to monitor that.”