India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has criticised the “hurtful” decision to fine Ravindra Jadeja, saying the all-rounder had been the innocent party in an incident involving England's James Anderson.
Dhoni said Jadeja had been on the receiving end of “foul langauge” and physical assault and, although the India skipper did not name Anderson on Saturday, it was clear he was referring to the England paceman during a news conference in Southampton ahead of Sunday's third Test match.
Jadeja was fined 50 percent of his match fee, but not banned, by the International Cricket Council after being found guilty Friday of “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game”, for an incident with Anderson that took place when walking off as a batsman during the lunch break on the second day of the drawn first Test in Nottingham on July 10.
“To me, it's a very hurtful decision,” said Dhoni.
“If you see what exactly happened...the umpire called 'lunch', and we started walking.
“I don't want to take any individual's name, but one used foul language against Jadeja.
“I had to step in the middle. By that time, we had reached the ropes, and I thought the thing was defused.
“Then, when we were going through the members' area, I was ahead of Jadeja, who was a couple of yards behind me.
“Again, something happened. Something was told to him and he turned across to the individual.
“After that, he was pushed and he barely gained his balance. Then, he turned to see what was happening.
“On the basis of that, he is fined. We were told it was against the spirit of the game.”
“But we can't ignore whatever has happened...The bat was under his armpit throughout, and right from the call for lunch till the time he entered the dressing room, not one word was spoken by him (Jadeja).
“I don't think there was even a bit of aggression in that and that's the reason I'm very hurt by the verdict given.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dnoni added: “Tomorrow (Sunday), if I ask one of my players to not say a word, and that we'll report it to the match referee, he might be like: 'Whatever happens, we'll get fined 50 percent. I'm better off abusing the guy'.”
England charged Jadeja with a Level Two offence under the ICC's code of conduct in retaliation for India bringing a more serious Level Three charge against Anderson for allegedly “abused and pushing” Jadeja.
However, ICC match referee David Boon, who heard Jadeja's case downgraded the offence to Level One.
India responded to the former Australia batsman's verdict by saying they reserved their right of appeal although, according to ICC regulations, there can be no appeal against a Level One punishment.
“The beauty of Level One is you cannot appeal against it,” Dhoni said.
“But the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the legals are working things out.
“We are definitely not at all happy with the verdict.”
India lead the five-match series with England 1-0 after a 95-run win in the second Test at Lord's on Monday – a match that ended with Jadeja running out Anderson, after which the two players were photographed shaking hands.
Anderson's case will be dealt with by ICC code of conduct commissioner Gordon Lewis on August 1 – the day after the third Test is due to end.
If found guilty of a Level Three offence, Anderson faces a ban of between two to four Tests that could rule him out of the remainder of the series
However, Lewis – like Boon – can downgrade the charge facing Anderson.
The row involving Jadeja and Anderson comes after a recent revamp of the ICC where the 'Big Three' nations of India, England and Australia took charge of the global governing body.
India's N. Srinivasan was installed as the new ICC chairman, despite being suspended from his equivalent BCCI post by India's Supreme Court over a corruption inquiry involving his son-in-law. – AFP