Alec Swann - Red tape exaggerates the issue

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

When what occurs on a sporting field messily spills over into an administrator’s office it can be almost guaranteed that a mountain is soon to be made of a small hill created by a burrowing animal.

Take an incident on a pitch, add into the mix the testimony of those who saw (or thought they saw) the aforementioned, slowly stir in prejudices and agendas and before you know it there’s a crisis where none should ever exist.

I’ve sat in a few meetings where what is said bears absolutely no relevance whatsoever to what took place but as long as those sitting in judgement can scowl seriously and act in a superior manner then those being charged will be put in their place.

Quite why the need for external judgement is so prevalent is difficult to explain, perhaps sport just feels the need to imitate society where the existence of excessive red tape is a constant menace.

It could well come down to the impotency of the officials, in their inability to keep the arena they govern free from misdemeanour.

Maintain order and problems don’t escalate, an all too simple fact that many have lost sight of.

Yesterday, England seamer James Anderson and India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja faced a disciplinary hearing as a result of their spat in the first Test at Trent Bridge last month.

Nobody is entirely sure what went on between the pair and all we have is a playground-esque squabble with petty accusations being traded.

‘He said this’, ‘He said that’, ‘No I didn’t’, ‘Yes you did’, and so on and so forth.

What we do know is that the pair - via Skype - were up before a judicial commissioner who was 12,000 miles away in Australia and were subjected to oral witnesses, legal submissions, cross examinations and video evidence if necessary.

This, indeed, is the mountain and the angry exchange in Nottingham was the molehill.

Anderson hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary and I’d be amazed if the Indians haven’t given as good as they’ve got.

A word to the captains from those in charge - an implied threat if you like - would nip this sort of incident in the bud but instead we had a convoluted mess that nobody wants to see.

And while cricket could do without the overly aggressive posturing many adopt, turning trivialities into major dramas does everybody involved a disservice.

Even-handed and instantaneous is better than it’s hard and subsequent cousin and that will always be the case.