Another Dustup in the Offing – Lord’s Preview

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Oh dear. What a shame that the build up to this test match has been soured by the charges against Jimmy Anderson. Why can’t teams get along? We had the ultra-aggressive Aussies in the Ashes, bad feeling throughout the Sri Lanka series, and now this.

The players are behaving like school kids: we’ve had Jimmy pumping his chest out (I have no idea whether he’s guilty but his on-field demeanour often seems aggressive), and then we have India acting like classic passive-aggressives.

Dhoni seems like a reasonable fella, but given the chance to put the boot in and gain an advantage, he’s seized it ruthlessly. Physical altercations cannot be condoned in any shape or form, but did England press charges when David Warner punched Joe Root? No. All Root asked for was an apology.

England felt Warner’s public embarrassment was enough. Criminal charges could have been pressed, but were not. Jimmy Anderson didn’t even hit anyone (as far as we know), he’s simply accused of pushing Jadeja, who by all accounts pushed back. I wonder if they were brandishing handbags as they did it?

Until I hear evidence to the contrary, I consider this affair to be a storm in a teacup. If the charges are proven then Jimmy was clearly out of line; but running off and telling tales to teacher isn’t particularly attractive either. As far as we know, nobody was actually hurt.

Anyway, back to the actual cricket. According to the bureau of meteorology, and presumably Tony Grieg’s weather wall too, Thursday is set to be the hottest day of the year so far.

Add to this the fact that the Lord’s pitch is usually flatter than a Dutchman’s garden, and we have a recipe for runs … lots of them.

Winning the toss is therefore absolutely crucial. Even if Cook scores no runs whatsoever (again), he’ll have had a good game if England manage to bat first. The prospect of our weary attack spending another two days in the field is too much to bear.

Talking of Cook, this will probably be the first time in a long time that he’s not the guy in the spotlight. The pressure on Kerrigan (and Anderson) will be greater. Maybe this will be Chef’s recipe for success?

Kerrigan in particular will be depositing bricks in the deluxe Lord’s lavatories with alarming regularity. The Indians will be all too aware of this. They’re bound to go after him. If he concedes less runs than Moeen Ali has thus far in the series he’ll have bowled extremely well.

Team selection should also be interesting. Who will make way for Kerrigan (if indeed he plays)? My money is on either Moeen, or bizarrely enough, Stokes.

England will be reluctant to drop either Anderson or Broad – although if the latter is carrying a knock then that might solve a tricky dilemma – and I think they’ll want Plunkett in the side because he generates more pace and bounce than the other bowlers.

What’s more, Stokes struggled with a side injury at Trent Bridge, so don’t be surprised if he isn’t risked.

As for India, the rumour is that Binny will retain his place. This is probably good news. England will be delighted if Ashwin is left out of the side again.

When Duncan Fletcher was England coach, he often made a few odd selections (despite being brilliant overall). Leaving Ashwin – a bowler I rate extremely highly – out of the final XI seems to be another head-scratcher. Not that I’m complaining.

So who’s your money on? A quick perusal of the odds via gambling.com reveals that England are favourites. What’s more, some bookies have lower odds on Cook being top England run scorer than Root.

This I find rather puzzling. Maybe they know something we don’t. One has scored two big hundreds this year; the other hasn’t scored a century since Jimmy Anderson was a shy Burnley lad who wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

Well, maybe not that long ago, but it still seems like a very, very, long time. Let’s just hope the players keep their hair on over the next five days.

James Morgan

Written in collaboration with gambling.com

11 comments

  • The main question is, who from the ICC Board is going to hear the case? As we now only have a “Big 3” and two of those have the players involved, does it leave it to Australia to be Judge Judy?

  • The ICC have only got themselves to blame for this. They have failed to take firm action against the constant verbal abuse that has become prevalent in international cricket. I know some people like all this and call it “banter” but I don’t think it is humour or banter.

    The cat was let out of the bag years ago when Steve Waugh admitted it was calculated “mental disintegration.” Any notion of a bit of high jinks went with that admission.. But the ICC did nothing.

    The Indians were incensed when they played Australia a few years ago and had to endure constant abuse from the Aussie team who received no punishment. Yet match referees like Chris Broad have dished out huge fines to the Indians and other Asian countries for over appealing and slow over rates

    It can’t be long before someone, sick of being abused by some mouthy mongrel just walks over and gives them a right hander. Of course all the pro banter supporters will be appalled….APPALLED!

    Maybe JImmy did not like the banter he normally dishes out.

  • The Anderson-Jadeja incident throws up some curious questions. If it was such a minor event, as indicated by England, how has it ended up as an alleged offence under level 3 of the ICC Code of Conduct – the most serious. When Michael Clarke threatened the very same Jimmy Anderson with a ‘fucking broken arm’ at the Brisbane test at the tail end of last year – it was considered just a level 1 offence.

    Reports from the journos is that the BCCI and ECB tried to diffuse the situation without success. If the two most powerful governing bodies in world cricket can’t diffuse a trifling tiff that took place out of the public eye and without the knowledge of most of the players as they ambled to lunch, what on earth is going on?

    For my liking, England have been too often involved with ‘spirit of cricket’ issues over the past half year or so. The Ashes series featured the Clarke go at Anderson and the Warner swing at Root. Both England players are regarded as mouthy.

    The Sri Lankan tour was notable for a couple of events. Buttler being Mankaded by Senanayake after several warnings, which Cook in a fit of hyperbole said ‘crossed the line,’ and Cook’s own rather unedifying public undermining of the same bowler’s action. At the time, Senanayake’s action was officially deemed OK, and I fail to see how Cook’s public complaint had motives any different to those he now suggests are driving the current Indian complaint against Anderson.

    Now we have an ICC Hearing to consider an alleged level 3 offence against Anderson. A matter so innocuous that the ECB issued a press release describing the matter as a minor incident and which most journalists have suggested was nothing more than handbags. ECB spokesmen are baffled and Cook didn’t even know about the incident till Monday.

    There have to be undercurrents at play here that we do not know about. How is it possible for the two boards not to resolve the matter without recourse to m’learned friend? Why did that wise owl Duncan Fletcher not bring some maturity to the matter? Why did the undemonstrable Dhoni feel so strongly about the matter. Why did the ECB, in proclaiming the moral high ground, decide that the best way to defuse the situation was to lodge a tit-for-tat complaint of its own? Why did Cook get involved again instead of keeping a dignified silence?

    While the Indians have shown a propensity to be thin skinned about some things, and the ill-tempered 2007 jelly-bean test springs to mind when Zaheer Khan claims to have been insulted by the incident, but even then Michael Vaughan admitted the English sledging possibly crossed the line.

    Back to this series, with both teams struggling for form, I do not suppose the Indians saw Alastair Cook’s comedy bowling at the close with quite the same hilarity as the England team. They probably thought Cook should get his own game together before taking the piss out of them

    I am all for a competitive, aggressive spirit in imposing your will on an opposition, match or series. But there is something unpleasant and mean inculcating the English game at the moment. The disproportionate sledging and aggression, the ill-judged post-match accusations, Cook’s foolish ‘something should be done’ attack on Shane Warne all suggest the team and captain are under stress. Frankly, the opposition would be forgiven for hating England’s perceived arrogance when England are on top, but there is no way they are going to accept it when England are in a bloody disarray.

  • Just watched Sky showing the players leaving the field at the end of the match and Anderson, for some reason, decided to escort the Indian batsmen off and rant at them. A strong England captain should have shouted “hey Jimmy, we’re over here. Come away.” but as Downton informed us, we don’t have a strong captain.

  • So Cook can make assertions about Sri Lanka, Senanayke, Mankading, India using Anderson as a tactic and he not be hauled over the coals??? This England set up is toxic and not one worthy of my interest anymore.

    You guys have a good blog but this particular article is naieve.

  • This is obviously more serious than England would like us to believe. And one can only assume that The Indians really believe that there was physical contact. After all, if not why let it escalate? If Clarke can verbally threaten to break Jimmys arm what could be worse in a verbal sense. If Jimmy has physically pushed him and they can prove it (a big if) then Jimmy is in trouble.

    Mark Nicholas wrote a good piece for cricket info at the end of the Ashes down under. In it it said that England would not relieve any sympathy from the other test playing nations. Apparently England are regarded as a humourless, arrogant, team. Of course having had a run of success no team will be popular but I got the impression this dislike went further than normal jealous losers.

    One interesting final point. As usual team ECB media Pravda have gone in to overdrive on England’s behalf. All the usual suspects repeat ECB talking points and do it in a typical condescending tone. “How dare the Indians accuse Jimmy, and how can anybody not believe darling Cook. ” It may well be that Jimmy will get away with this even if he is guilty because a lack of proof. But once again Cook comes across as very arrogant.

    • England has been a pretty humourless, aggressive, sometimes quite unpleasant team, but that hardly separates them from every other side.

      It’s a bit of a cliché but I think there’s a fair amount of historical resentment. Given that sports such as cricket and rugby were spread via British colonialism, England inevitably has a different relationship with other playing nations from the one they have with each other. I remember in the run-up to the 2003 RWC one of the rugby magazines had an interview with a player from each nation. One of the questions was “Other than your own nation, who do you think will win the World Cup”

      I think every one of them answered “As long as it’s not England, I don’t care hahaha”

      Likewise, Allan Border said the advice Chappelli gave him when he was appointed captain was “You can lose to anyone, but for God’s sake don’t lose to the Poms”

      I live in Australia and the zeal with which Australians seize upon any opportunity to comment on English sport is almost inexplicable in context with having almost zero interest in any other sports story outside of Australia.

      British colonialism seems too far in the past to be a serious reason for resentment, but it’s surprising how often sub-continental fans mention it in posts on Cricinfo and the like.

      It’s one of those irregular verbs:

      Australia celebrates, England is arrogant.

      India is disappointed, England are bad losers

      Etc etc

  • Players in recent times seem to think you have to sledge to play “aggressive cricket.” I think this is because they are confusing “aggressive cricket” with “being a bit of a dick”.

  • I don’t think England are anymore arrogant than any other team. JImmy seems to have anger mgt issues more than arrogance issues.

    This is all very weird about the charges against both players. It will make it damned interesting when Jadeja comes out to bat.

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