Extra scrutiny has softened Anderson’s aggression

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada will sit out the Trent Bridge Test due to suspension (Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP).
South Africa's Kagiso Rabada will sit out the Trent Bridge Test due to suspension (Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP).
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James Anderson empathises with “heartbroken” Kagiso Rabada over his ban from this week’s Trent Bridge Test, but insists all players know the standards required for on-field behaviour.

Anderson, no stranger through his record-breaking career to the occasional spat in the middle, has learned where the line is set by the International Cricket Council and that he will be in trouble if he crosses it. South Africa fast bowler Rabada crossed it and will be missing from this week’s second Investec Test after swearing when he dismissed Ben Stokes on day one of the series at Lord’s.

Anderson said at the weekend that he had mixed feelings about Rabada’s situation.

“Obviously, it’s good for us because he’s an outstanding bowler,” he said.

“It’s a tough one, because for me I like to see bowlers playing with aggression, which he obviously does.

“But the scrutiny we’re under now, with stump mics, ‘spidercam’ out there, you can’t really get away with anything.

“As much as we like to see players with passion, there’s obviously a line that the ICC have drawn and you’ve got to stay the right side of it.”

The audio aids picked up Rabada’s expletive as he vented his frustration, but Anderson believes stump mic adds to the broadcast spectacle and should be retained.

“I think it does enhance the game,” he said.

“When I watch games, I like having stump mic there. I think it’s just the players’ duty to be aware it is there and it’s obviously turned up quite loud sometimes.”

He has had to learn the hard way himself at times that he must ditch some of the aggression.

“It is something that’s helped me in the past, being quite aggressive with the opposition, trying to get in people’s faces sometimes, trying to unsettle them,” he said. “But now it’s something that is difficult to do, with the amount of scrutiny we’re under.”

Rabada’s team-mate Temba Bavuma – one of three batsmen to pass 50 but get little further in their 361 all out – reported no sense of injustice among the tourists at the bowler’s punishment.