Manchester: As the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided not to appeal Gordon Lewis’s ruling on the Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson spat, captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Alastair Cook stood their ground, defending their respective views.
The following are excerpts
Dhoni: When we deal with social life, it’s important not to drag one thing into another… Irrespective of what has happened and what will happen, we are concentrating on cricket… So that’s a good thing. Once you are a part of the Indian team, you do that very well, because a lot of things float around cricket, whether we are at home or abroad. So it really teaches you to focus on the game.
The developments are not affecting the team, because no one has even asked me what is happening. It’s time for us to move ahead.
In our society, we have something called evidence and something called lack of evidence… There was not even one percent mistake committed from Jadeja’s side… Jadeja was fined… After that, it becomes all about evidence… It’s really interesting what David Boon found out, on the basis of which he fined 50 per cent of Jadeja’s match fee.
We talk about the spirit of the game, but it is up to each individual to respect that and keep moving forward. We need to think what really is the spirit of the game… It’s very easy. One of our coaches says that whatever you don’t want your children to watch on TV and follow it, that is against the spirit of the game…
The world has changed… A lot of emphasis is put on winning games and the killer instinct… But it has been misinterpreted a lot. We need to remember the MCC guidelines and the spirit of game. At times, officials are quite generous to individuals… They feel that in the heat of the moment, someone said something. But if someone is consistent with his abuse, he should be punished… Doesn’t matter who he is.
Once the umpire goes and tells him ‘we have had enough and foul language should not be used’, that’s the point where if the individual doesn’t curb himself then he needs to be punished. But the way cricket is played, it’s constantly on the move… We have to monitor it constantly but at the same time its imp that we play strong cricket.
I did something that was right and I stand for what’s right and what’s wrong. If something wrong is happening, I will go against it, irrespective of who is doing it. If one of my players gets fined and if he is within the boundary lines, I will definitely go and defend him. If he crosses that line, I won’t support and he will go alone and face the consequences.
We brought forward something we thought was unacceptable when it comes to the game of cricket and beyond that, it is not in my jurisdiction to punish or award penalties… It’s up to the ICC. It’s nothing between me and James Anderson. What’s important was what was done on and off the field… So it was reported. You cannot really move ahead saying abuse is a part of the game.
Cook: Obviously, it’s been a really good couple of days off the field for us in terms of making sure Jimmy is available to play. The whole incident is behind us and we can concentrate on playing cricket. We don’t have to talk about it any more, hopefully we can get on with playing cricket.
I think the way both the sides have played this series has been fantastic, apart from that one incident which has been blown up. I think both the sides have been very competitive and played it in the right way and in the right spirit.
I got lost a little bit with exactly what’s happened (with the ICC verdict)… I haven’t followed the exact process, but the most important thing is Jimmy’s been cleared, he’s available to play.
We know every time you pull on the shirt as an England player, or any international side, you are role models for anyone watching… We’re all aware of that.
We also want to play competitive cricket, we don’t want to be too nicey nicey, with everyone saying they’re playing in the right spirit. There’s always that muddied line.
We want to play competitive cricket like the three games so far have been played and I don’t think we need to change too much.
Of course there’s a little bit where he might have overstepped the mark throughout his career, but you’d rather be on that line than too passive. He needs that for his bowling and the way he bowled, especially at Southampton… That was incredible.
(On Gordon Lewis alleging the witnesses were biased) Is that what he said? It’s just that one side said one thing and the other side said another, defending their own man… I’m not concerned at all.