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Lines must not be crossed: Dhoni

India and England captains present contrasting views on Anderson-Jadeja incident

It was the eve of the Lord’s Test, between England and India, and almost nobody wanted to ask anything to the two captains about cricket. The press conferences with both, Alastair Cook and MS Dhoni were all about the incident between James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja.


Team India charged the England fast bowler under Level 3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Support Personnel for abusing and pushing Jadeja on the second day of the Trent Bridge Test.

Dhoni, expressing his views on the matter, said, “We talk a lot about the spirit of the game. There are guidelines that need to be followed. You can be aggressive and vocal but should also follow them.”

It is not very often that a player is charged for a Level 3 offence. When asked if Anderson’s alleged offence was that serious, the Indian captain said, “Yes, at least that’s what we think.”

Elaborating with an example, Dhoni said, “In this press conference, you can ask me tough questions and I have the right to answer it or choose not to. But in no way, can I touch you.”

England skipper, Cook, had different views on the matter. He actually believes that pressing the charge against the hosts’ best bowler is some sort of tactic that India are using after the tightly fought first Test.

"It is probably a tactic a little bit from India if we are being honest,” Cook said. “We hope if the ball swings during this Test Jimmy will want his cricket to do the talking. We were surprised it was a level three incident after hearing both sides of it and what happened."

Even as he claimed that he “didn’t see what really happened”, Cook was vehement in his defense of his bowler.

"As players we know we can't cross the line but in the heat of the moment there have been situations when we have all looked back and thought we went too far but that is not the case in this incident. I like it when Jimmy is in the battle because it means he is up for it and desperate to do well for England. Others get behind him because they see a competitive guy and they love that."

Dhoni, on the other hand, admired how Jadeja handled the situation by not retaliating to Anderson’s action. “It’s a constant thing that keeps happening,” the captain said. “Somebody starts something and we retaliate and we are fined. Jadeja didn’t retaliate. He responded in an appropriate manner. Somebody has to back off at the right time. We should learn from it and move on.”

While both captains differed in their views regarding the incident, they agreed on one thing. They both hoped the incident will not leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth as the series progresses.

“We have to make sure that the remaining matches are played in the right spirit, but at the same time they are not docile,” Dhoni said. “We want the players to be aggressive and say a few things but also play in the right spirit. I’ll do what is in my control to ensure that.”

Cook seconded. "I hope it does not [sour relations]. Both MS and I have responsibility as captains to make sure we control our players and don't let that happen because we have a responsibility to the people watching the game and under the ICC rules. It might make it good viewing but I don't think we will see that happen."

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Preview: England vs India, 2nd Test

Plenty to ponder for both teams ahead of Lord’s

What

Second Test of the five-match series between India and England

When

July 17 to 21, 2014

Where

Lord’s, London

The Teams

India

Not every time do you see an Indian batting line-up bat for more than a hundred overs overseas in both innings. On a dry and placid Trent Bridge wicket, the bowlers bent their backs, while the batsmen made merry. Namely, three players were the highlight for India in the first Test. Murali Vijay batted like he belonged in whites and looked hungry for big scores every time he walked out to bat. With the ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma bowled their hearts out to make use of whatever purchase they could get off the wicket; Bhuvi though excelled with the bat as well with half centuries in both innings.

Both captains have asked for ‘livelier’ pitches in the games to follow and the team selection before the 2nd Test at Lord’s would depend on the wicket on offer. There has been much talk about Ravindra Jadeja failing with the ball and not being able to utilize the ‘rough’ to good effect. Will the Indian captain think of a possible switch between Jadeja and a specialist spinner in R Ashwin who is more than a handy bat? Or is there a chance of both players being featured in the eleven, which would mean leaving out Stuart Binny who saved the first Test with a handy 78. If Lord’s offers a wicket suitable for seamers, Binny might retain his place in the squad, and India could just field an unchanged squad on Thursday.

England

India batted twice at Trent Bridge, which meant more workload for the England bowlers. A point of concern for England in the bowling department would be the form of Moeen Ali. The off-spinner did pick four wickets in the first Test, but was dealt with severity by the Indian batsmen. England have made an interesting inclusion to their squad in the form of 25-year old Simon Kerrigan. The left-arm orthodox has received a lot of flak for his credibility as a spinner in the side, especially after a horrific Ashes debut last year. Will England include Kerrigan in the side or will England stick to Moeen Ali at Lord’s? There is a question mark over Alastair Cook’s form as well and the England captain would want to let his bat do the talking before more fingers are pointed out at him.

Key Players

India

Virat Kohli had single digit scores in both the innings at Trent Bridge. It has not been the best of starts for his maiden tour of England and the No.4 bat would want to get into his groove before it is too late. Kohli had mentioned his hunger for runs overseas earlier, and he does understand the importance of this tour. The stage doesn’t get bigger and better than this for Kohli. England and Lord’s are reason enough for Virat to put up his best foot forward for the team.

England

Ian Bell batted just once in the first Test and got a score of 25 against his name. Off those 25 runs, 24 of them came in boundaries before he was out caught behind by MS Dhoni playing a dab to Ishant Sharma. He last played a Test at Lord’s against Sri Lanka and got a half century in that Test. Bell does have a liking towards India having recorded his highest score in Tests against them. When he walks out to bat at Lord’s, England would want all of Bell’s experience on display to take their side to a considerable advantage. If Bell gets going, he sure would have rung a few alarm bells in the Indian camp.

Stat-Attack

1. Average first innings score at Lord's, London:


Overall – 314

Since 2000- 378

2. Average second innings score at Lord's, London:

Overall – 297

Since 2000- 300

3. Result summary at Lord's, London:

Matches

Won by side batting 1st

Won by side batting 2nd

Drawn

Overall

44

36

48

Since 2000

14

7

9


4. Head-to-head:

Matches

Played

Ind won

Eng won

Drawn

Overall

108

20

40

48

In England

53

5

27

21

At Lord's

16

1

11

4


5. Last meeting between both sides at Lord's, London:

Brief scores: July 21-25, 2011

England (474-8d & 269-6d) India (286 & 261). England won by 196 runs

6. Form guide (most recent listed first):

India: Drawn, Drawn, Lost, Lost, Drawn

England: Drawn, Lost, Drawn, Lost, Lost

The Squads

India: M.S. Dhoni (C & WK), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Wriddhiman Saha, Pankaj Singh.

England (2nd Test): Alastair Cook (C), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Balance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, Simon Kerrigan, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior (WK), Sam Robson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.