England batsman Ian Bell has declared the ongoing Test series against India one of the least aggressive he has played in, despite the continued row over James Anderson’s conduct at Trent Bridge.
Lancashire ace Anderson was charged with a level-three offence after the Indian camp accused him of pushing and abusing their all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in the pavilion during lunch on the second day in Nottingham, bringing the prospect of a four-Test ban.
An independent International Cricket Council commissioner, retired Australian judge Gordon Lewis, cleared the seamer following a lengthy hearing on Friday – also overturning a fine against Jadeja for a lesser offence – but the issue continues to fester.
India – and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in particular – were dissatisfied with the ruling and the Board of Control for Cricket in India are widely reported to have written to ICC chief executive Dave Richardson urging him to use his power of appeal to challenge the verdict.
Yesterday the ICC decided not to appeal against the ruling that saw Anderson found not guilty of breaching its code of conduct.
Richardson said: “This outcome is the result of two exhaustive and thorough disciplinary processes and, after considering the written decision, the ICC is satisfied with the manner in which the decisions have been reached.”
The incident, and its subsequent handling, paint a picture of two teams at loggerheads. But that seems bizarre to Bell, ahead of the fourth Test which started at Old Trafford today.
“Apart from one incident there’s been nothing on the field at all, less than in other series I’ve played,” he said.
“It’s a tough environment in the middle, there’s always a bit and you hope it doesn’t go past the line but it’s been played in a good spirit.
“Certainly a lot has been made of that issue.
“From what I’ve been part of, there’s been very little said apart from that one incident.
“The way Jimmy handled everything, to get man of the match at Southampton with everything around the corner afterwards, was an incredible effort. I’m sure he’ll do exactly the same here, as will all the players.
“I’m sure we’re desperate to get everyone talking about the cricket and a good series, rather than one incident that maybe got blown out of proportion.”
Bell is not prone to verbal volleys on the pitch, unlike some of his dressing room colleagues but he has been on the sharp end of plenty in his time.
He was memorably a victim of Shane Warne’s hobby of ‘mental disintegration’ during the 2005 Ashes series, with the master spinner’s constant barbs contributing to Bell’s poor series but he believes there is a place for such behaviour in international cricket.
“We’ve all copped it, we’ve all said things, we’ve all received things along the way,” he said.
“Test cricket is a tough environment and sometimes you have to earn your respect. Certainly for me as a young player, I got taught a lesson by one of the best of all time,” he said referring to Warne.
“He noticed I was a young player, he put pressure on me to affect my performance and he did.”