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Beyond the Boundary: Baffling thoughts in the wake of Lewis verdict



The Skype connection between the Melbourne base of Gordon Lewis and a hotel in Southampton lasted six hours, with or without technical snags, for the hearing of submissions and evidence presented by India and England on Friday, and the ICC judicial commissioner needed just a few minutes to get to the pit of truth.

If the verdict was a disgusting blow to MS Dhoni, what hurt him more could be the fact that the former Australian judge took such a short time — reports say 10 minutes — to decide on the controversy.

That was the most unkindest cut of two that happened in the space of as many days.

If the spineless Indian performance on Thursday was humbling in the context of the mighty roar they made at Lord's less than a week ago, the Lewis verdict delivered the next day was the proverbial nail.

And we don't know if it's really the one more or one the last.

The Lewis decision raises some baffling questions, especially on the ways the ICC goes about its business. Jadeja was fined a few days ago 50 percent of his match fee in the case when ICC match referee David Boon heard it.

Boon had "no doubt that a confrontation between Anderson and Fadeja did occur", and he was "comfortably satisfied that Jadeja had committed a level 1 offence".

Boon had played cricket all his life, or better part of it, and he was the match referee for the Trent Bridge Test during which the push and counter-push controversy played out.

How come he got it all wrong, in spite of being physically present at Trent Bridge for five full days viewing and reviewing all that's said and done on and off the field and getting to talk to the people involved in the case face to face, not via Skype?

And how come someone looking at the evidence, or lack of it, sitting miles away for a few hours, got it all right?

All this when James Anderson, or the England and Wales Cricket Board, never denied the push at anytime in the more than three weeks since the much-maligned incident happened.

If the abuse and push had happened, and all indications suggest they did, with or without the counters, then it's in the interest of the game that the ICC took the right step. And the right step was to apply the laws in place without fear or favour.

Another intriguing piece in this push jigsaw was the non-working camera at the narrow corridor where the spat took place as Jadeja and Dhoni, as well as Anderson, walked back to the dressing room at lunch break. It's still not clear for the public who really owned the camera: the county club or host's
broadcaster Sky TV or the ICC.

The ICC should have one in place that worked if it's serious about making sure that the players walked through the corridor without getting ambushed by match-fixers, and that's different matter, but why the camera wasn't working that day? Was it not working for the entire day or failed just before lunch?

Why is it that no stewards, who should have been present there, saw the spat? There are loose, unconvincing ends which lead us to doubt if we have been told the complete truth about this push-gate.

The verdict would put fresh springs in his stride and trecherous swings in his spells as he runs in hard in the 98th Test match of his career at Old Trafford, but if Anderson is serious about getting past the 100th milestone and beyond the 13 wickets he needs to overhaul Ian Botham's record to emerge the most successful English bowler, he must hold his tongue.

Contact sports such as football and rugby are played a lot more aggressively than cricket, so it's fair for guys who want to get more physical than the laws of the game would allow to choose a sport that suits their bottled bile and power of punch.

Cricket has no place for Luis Suarez, so it's in the interest of the game for the ICC to pull out the ugly fangs dangerously flashed by some now and then.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman

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