Butcher: Something missing from Anderson’s game
The England camp have admitted that James Anderson had been warned twice for running on the pitch before he was removed from the attack for a third transgression in the third Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Anderson, England’s record wicket taker in Test cricket, appeared incensed when Aleem Dar, the umpire, notified the England captain that Anderson was to be withdrawn from the attack after two balls of the 100th over of the innings.
In an angry exchange that continued beyond the end of innings, Anderson appeared to insist that he had been warned only once previously.
But an ECB spokesman later confirmed that Alastair Cook, the England captain, admitted he had been warned twice previously about Anderson running on to the protected area. The first warning came after three deliveries of the 61st over of the innings; the second after four deliveries of the 94th over. All the warnings were captured by broadcasters.
Law 42.12 – a section headlined ‘bowler running on protected area after delivering the ball – states that, on the first instance of any infringement, the umpire shall “caution the bowler and inform the other umpire.” They should also “inform the captain of the fielding side and the batsmen.”
If the bowler contravenes again, the umpire is obliged to “repeat the procedure indicating that it is a final warning.”
Aleem Dar, who his officiating in his 101st Test as an on-field umpire, won the ICC’s umpire of the year award for three years in a row (between 2009 and 2011).
While the England camp have suggested that the umpires could, perhaps, make their warnings a little more obvious, they have effectively accepted the sanction. Coming, as it did, with nine wickets down, and with Ben Stokes requiring only one delivery to finish off the innings, it did not adversely affect them. Anderson, whose querying of the decision probably stayed just the right side of the line separated between ‘inquisitive’ and ‘argumentative’ is unlikely to face further punishment.
There may be concern, however, at Anderson’s habit of running on the pitch – a habit that appears to be of increasing interest to umpires – and his apparent fury with the world and almost all upon it once he takes to the pitch. It is understood a team-mate recently made it clear in the dressing room that some were tiring of the latter.
There has been illness within the England squad in recent days and it may well be that Anderson – and Stuart Broad, who bowled far below his recent high standards here – have suffered as much as anyone and deserve some patience. No doubt Anderson’s anger stems from his burning desire to perform for the team that he has represented with pride for more than a decade. He has more than earned the benefit of any doubt.
As a new England side emerges, though – an England side keen to engage with its supporters and in the first flush of enthusiasm for international cricket and all it entails – Anderson’s anger jars and appears oddly out of step.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo