Tensions in the second Test at Lord’s are set to be increased after the International Cricket Council (ICC) charged England’s James Anderson with allegedly ‘abusing and pushing’ India’s Ravindra Jadeja just two days before the match.
The incident is alleged to have happened after the players left the field for lunch on Thursday’s second day of last week’s drawn first Test in Nottingham when all-rounder Jadeja was batting.
If the charges are proved, the Lancashire seamer could be banned for up to four Tests.
India, cricket’s financial powerhouse, and England may be two of the ‘Big Three’ nations now effectively running the ICC, but that relationship is sure to be put under strain in the coming days and weeks.
The England and Wales Cricket Board issued a statement of its own, saying the bowler had their ‘total support’ and warning they would report Jadeja for breaches of the ICC’s code of conduct should the global governing body pursue action against the pacer.
Regarding the match itself, England’s biggest specific concern heading into the second Test was the form of captain Alastair Cook.
It is now 25 innings since the left-handed opener scored the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds, during which time he has averaged a lowly 24.
“I’ve got to believe the wheel will turn at some stage,” said Cook. “I need to start scoring runs at the top of the order for England.”
Pitch condition a concern for both teams
At Trent Bridge, it seemed the most likely way Anderson would be sidelined was if he was required to bowl long spells on docile pitches throughout the rest of a five-Test series crammed into just 42 days.
“If we end up bowling 60 overs [each] every week, then we are not going to get through the five Tests,” said Anderson.
Cook added, “We just need a pitch with a bit of life in it.”
It was a point echoed by India captain MS Dhoni, who said, “When you come to a country, you want to play on a wicket that’s the specialty of that country. When you come to England, you want the wickets to be slightly quicker [than in India].”
After Trent Bridge groundsman Steve Birks apologised for his pitch, attention turned to Mick Hunt, his Lord’s counterpart.
Hunt has spent more than 40 years working on the square at the ‘home of cricket’ and anyone advising him on how to do his job is liable to get a brief reply.
“They [captains and coaches] tell me what they want the pitch to do all the time but I don’t listen to a word they say,” said Hunt. “I just say, ‘okay’ and carry on doing exactly what I planned.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.
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