England's pace spearhead James Anderson and Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were today found not guilty of breaching ICC Code of Conduct after a marathon six-hour hearing, putting an end to the suspense over their participation for the remaining part of the Test series.
The hearing, conducted by Judicial Commissioner Gordon Lewis took place via video-conference, and verdict came as a huge relief for Anderson, who faced the prospect of a two-Test ban if he had been found guilty of a Level 3 offence.
Anderson was accused of pushing and abusing Jadeja during the second day of the first Test at Trent Bridge on July 10. England had also pressed for a Level 2 charge against Jadeja as a counter move.
"His Honor Gordon Lewis AM, the Judicial Commissioner, has found both England’s James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja of India not guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct," ICC said in a statement.
"The Judicial Commissioner reached his decisions following a six-hour hearing, which took place via video-conference. Witnesses, including some Indian and English players, provided evidence and were cross-examined by the respective legal counsels," the statement added.
The ECB and Anderson were represented in the hearings by Nick De Marco while Adam Lewis QC represented Jadeja. The hearings were also attended by the two team managers, the ECB’s Paul Downton, the BCCI’s Sundar Raman and MV Sridhar, the ICC’s General Manager (Cricket), Geoff Allardice, and the ICC’s Ethics and Regulatory lawyer, Sally Clark.
Anderson and Jadeja were charged under Level 3 and 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel by India team manager Sunil Dev and England team manager Phil Neale respectively following the alleged incident.
The Indians alleged that Anderson pushed and abused Jadeja when the players were leaving the ground for the lunch break and pressed with the charge.
The England team then filed a counter charge of Level 2, against Jadeja but match referee David Boon downgraded it to a level 1 offence and docked him 50 percent of his match fee.
Although it is an non-appealable offence, the Indians appealed against the verdict and the ICC accepted the plea.
All Level 3 breaches carry a penalty of between four and eight Suspension Points while Level 2 offences carry a fine of between 50-100 per cent of applicable Match Fee and/or up to two Suspension Points. Two suspension points equates to a ban of one Test, or two ODIs, depending on which type of match is scheduled next for the suspended player.
After a dramatic series-levelling defeat for India in the third Test, the action shifted to the Grand Harbour hotel in the city. The Indian team was lodged here for the duration of the stay in this city and thus it served well as the venue for the hearing.
Anderson, who won the man-of-the-match award for his match haul of 7-77 in the 266-run victory for England, arrived at the hotel almost an hour ahead of the scheduled 9am start of the hearing.
Gordon Lewis held the hearing from Melbourne via Skype as both sides presented their cases with their legal teams in tow.
The Indian team was scheduled to leave for Manchester this morning, where the fourth Test will be played from August 7. Most of the 18-member squad and support staff did leave, with exception of skipper MS Dhoni, coach Duncan Fletcher, Jadeja himself and Gautam Gambhir, who were witnesses in the alleged incident.
Dhoni and Jadeja were batting for India when they had returned to the pavilion during the lunch break when the latter was pushed on the way to the dressing room inside the pavilion. Ashwin and Gambhir were said to be present at the boundary line.
England too presented their witnesses, namely wicket-keeper Matt Prior and all-rounder Stuart Broad, who arrived just before the hearing was scheduled to start.
It is believed that the entire morning was spent in recording the deposition of the witnesses, and this process took nearly four hours. Prior and Broad left the premises together around 1pm, with Anderson overlooking from the hearing room’s window. An hour later, Gambhir left with his family and Fletcher too departed, both in separate cars.
The hearing stretched further into a sixth hour as the depositions went on. It is understood that the Indian management had brought forth key video evidence in this matter, which was previously not available since the CCTV installed in the pavilion wasn’t yet in working condition for the second Test.
Around 4pm then, almost six hours after the proceedings started, Dhoni, Jadeja and physio Evan Speechly (another witness) were seen leaving the premises.
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