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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Cricket

Captains draw battlelines before Lord's Test
Sanjjeev K Samyal , Hindustan Times
London, July 17, 2014
First Published: 00:40 IST(17/7/2014)
Last Updated: 12:05 IST(31/7/2014)

The BCCI was not keen to make an issue of it. There was pressure from the England and Wales Cricket Board on him to not press charges against James Anderson, but India skipper MS Dhoni held firm.

"England had threatened to charge (Ravindra) Jadeja with a Level II offence if we pressed charges. But Dhoni stood his ground. He said it is like the aggressor playing the victim," a highly-placed team source told HT. 

Dhoni is not known to make hard statements. This time, he is not holding back the punches. At the press conference on Wednesday, he declared that Anderson had pushed Jadeja and action should be taken against him.

"At a press conference, you can ask me tough questions. I have the right to answer them or not, but in no way can I go and touch you. Or you can come and touch me. You can put it in whatever way you want to, but there are certain things that need to be followed, and it should be followed," said Dhoni, when asked about the incident that happened at Trent Bridge, and which has resulted in a Level III charge against Anderson.

"We talk a lot about the spirit of cricket and there are guidelines that need to be followed. There have been a few individuals from our sides too in the past who have crossed the line. You can be aggressive, you can be vocal, but there are certain guidelines that are laid out and we should follow that," the skipper added.

England, on the other hand, saw it as a ploy by the Indian camp to get rid of the threat of Anderson.  "It's probably a tactic from India and we can rally behind him. Hopefully we get ball swinging and Anderson will want to let his cricket do the talking," England captain Alastair Cook said. "We're surprised it's a level 3 incident after hearing what happened."

The confrontation between the two players happened on the second day of the first Test at Trent Bridge. In the past there have been instances of the player, who is provoked, retaliated and ended up being punished. On this occasion, Dhoni said, Jadeja did the right thing by backing off.

"It is not something that has happened for the first time. It's a constant thing that keeps happening. We have been on the receiving end a lot of times where somebody starts something and we retaliate and we get fined or different kinds of offences are levelled against us. It was good on Jadeja's part to not really do something. It could have gone a bit far, but I felt he addressed this in the most appropriate manner. That's something we will have to learn and move forward. Someone has to back off at the right time. At the end of the day we play sport and lot of people look up to us, and there is a lot of responsibility on us," Dhoni said.

The England captain said, his team will rally around Anderson and hoped the pacer retained his competitive edge. "I'm certainly for Anderson. All the lads will rally round him. He is a stalwart of our side.

"For me if it motivates him that would be great. If it does bring us tighter, even more close together, support us more during the tough times…" said Cook.

Both the captains though maintained the incident wouldn't sour the relationship between the two sets of players in the rest of the series.


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