Relieved that Anderson is available: Cook
England captain is pleased with the not guilty verdict for his spearhead
Even as the ICC has put a full stop to the James Anderson-Ravindra Jadeja altercation issue, the two captains continued to face questions about it at the pre-match media conference on the eve of the fourth Test at Manchester.
Both MS Dhoni and Alastair Cook said the teams have put the issue behind them and are focusing on the job ahead.
"It's been a really good couple of days off the field for us in terms of making sure Jimmy is available to play and the whole incident is behind us and we can concentrate on playing cricket,” Cook said. “We don't have to talk about it any more, hopefully not too much more and we can get on with playing cricket."
Cook also said there is no enmity between the two sides after the incident. "I think the way both sides have played this series has been fantastic, apart from that one incident which has been blown up. I thought both sides have been very competitive and played it in the right way and in the right spirit."
The biggest relief for the England captain was that Anderson’s non guilty verdict means he will have his ace bowler by his side in the last two Tests.
"He's a little bit less grumpy, which is always nice for Jimmy,” Cook said when asked about Anderson’s relief. “But actually in those last couple of Test matches, with this hanging over him, he's bowled really well. I don't think it's really affected his performance on the field at all.
“It's great that this is now behind him. He gets to play in a home Test match, which I know is very special for every guy who gets to play in a home Test match. For him to be playing here means a lot to him. I think that's what the biggest concern was, that he wouldn't get to play at Old Trafford."
Cook was also pleased to have an in-form Steven Finn in the squad again. Finn has replaced the injured Liam Plunkett.
"From when I last saw him in an England shirt, to what he's now delivering for Middlesex and when he briefly bowled at Lord's, it's just great for English cricket that Finny is getting back to his best. To add him into the pile of fast bowlers can only be a good thing, to add more competition.
“He's very different to what we have got: he's a tall bowler who when he gets it right bowls at near 90mph. So that's a great thing to add to the pot and I am pleased for him that he's managed to, it's obviously been a very tough six months for him personally. He’s fought through it and I'll think he'll be a stronger bloke for it and it will bode well for his cricket."
About his own return to the form after a long famine of runs, Cook said while the 95-run knock in the first innings of the Southampton Test has taken a monkey off his back, he will start from the scratch when he walks in to bat at the Old Trafford.
"Great that I scored runs last week. It was a big relief off my shoulders,” he said. “But it's only one game. We're approaching this game as a team and last week counts for nothing. Same goes for my batting, I want to be consistent and score big runs and there's another opportunity this week.”
He, however, admitted that runs under his belt makes it easier for him to lead the team.
“It does make it easier because you’re not asking people to do stuff which you haven’t been doing. That’s always a hard thing for any captain when he’s out of form. You’re telling the guys what to do and you’re not backing up your own words. Two innings don’t change it too much but it does make it easier,” Cook said.
Cook praised his batsmen for tiring the Indian bowlers out in the third Test and batting India out of the match. "We put a lot of wear and tear into Indian bowlers in that game, that's how you win Test match series.
"We put a lot of miles in their legs like they did to us at Trent Bridge, which effected us at Lord's. At the start of this game it's nil all and you've got to earn the right to put miles in their legs again.”
We have to move on: Dhoni
Indian skipper says he stands by his decision to press charges against Anderson
The last couple of weeks in the England-India Test series have been marred by the Trent Bridge controversy between James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja. MS Dhoni was very vocal about his displeasure over Anderson’s actions and was firm in his support for Jadeja.
However, Gordon Lewis, the man who investigated the matter, declared both Anderson and Jadeja not guilty at the end of it. Dhoni said the decision was a result of the lack of evidence and now all they can do is move on. “It’s mostly on the lines of lack of evidence and its time for us to move ahead,” he said.
When asked if the after effects of the incident will linger in his mind, Dhoni replied in his usual witty way.
“Hangover? Usually I don’t drink and so I don’t get hangovers.” On a serious note, he said it was important not to let the off-field matter have an impact on the cricket. “In a similar way when we deal with social life, it is important not to drag one thing into other.
“Irrespective of what has happened and what will happen we are concentrating on cricket. So that’s a good thing. Once you’re a part of the Indian team you do that very well because lot of things float around cricket whether we are at home or outside. So it really teaches u to focus on the game,” the captain said.
Despite Anderson getting away unscathed, Dhoni was happy that at least the 50 per cent fine imposed on Jadeja was waived off.
“The good thing that came out of it was that Jadeja’s fine was called off. As I had said earlier, there wasn’t even one per cent mistake committed from his side. After that it becomes all about evidence and would be really interesting to see what David Boon found out on the basis of which he fined Jadeja in first place.”
While Dhoni said strong characters like Anderson are needed in the game, he also felt the umpires must step in when the line is crossed.
“Strong characters are needed in the game. And it doesn’t matter whether it is him (Anderson) or a player or some other side. It can be someone from my side as well. But the need is for the umpires to step in when the individual crosses the line. What matters is that they stay within the guidelines and that’s important for the game and the spectators,” Dhoni said.
“There is no need to control Anderson really. There was a vast difference in the way he played the first Test and the next two. He only needs to be controlled if something wrong is happening. You don’t want everyone to be the same because individuals bring character to the side. Everybody is different in their own way. But there are certain guidelines need to be followed and as long as they are following that it is okay,” Dhoni said.
India might not have gotten the result they thought was just in the case. But Dhoni said they don’t regret pressing the charges against Anderson and going for the appeal, because they did what they believed was the right thing to do.
“I did something that was right and I stand by it,” Dhoni said. “If something wrong is happening I will go against it irrespective of who is doing it. If one of my players gets fined and if he is within the boundary lines definitely I’ll go and defend him. But if he crosses that line I he will go alone and face the consequences.
“We brought forward something we thought was unacceptable when it comes to game of cricket. Beyond that it is not in my jurisdiction to punish or award penalties. It is up to the ICC and others to decide on the matter,” the skipper said.
Dhoni said the basis of their report was the physical assault and not the sledging. “It was the physical contact that we had problem against. We never said anything about sledging. Quite a few harsh words spoken on the field as well but we didn’t report that.”