Sport thrives as much on goodwill and credibility as it does on the excellence of its practitioners. These aren't, and can never be, mutually exclusive. The stakeholders involved, at the top of which pile are the spectators, will indulge brilliance at the expense of less than acceptable behavioural, moral and ethical standards for only that long. Eventually, they will become disillusioned and disinterested, which is the worst outcome for the professional sportsperson who is as much an entertainer as he is a bread-winner.
These are extraordinarily interesting times for cricket, a sport that is anything but global. Cricket is only played at the highest level by ten countries, it is the No. 1 sport in less than half that number, and while it has been trying to spread its wings far and wide, it can ill afford to antagonise the fan-base that has sustained it for centuries now. Scandal isn't exclusive to cricket. But given how limited the sport's reach is compared to say athletics or football or swimming, it becomes imperative for those involved with cricket - the players themselves, the administrators, the law-makers - to conduct themselves with the grace and dignity that is expected of them.
And while these are extraordinarily interesting times for cricket, these are also extraordinary troubled and troubling times for the sport. For two and a half months now and counting, cricket has resembled a soap opera with a mind of its own, twisting and turning through plots and sub-plots. Some of these plots are interlinked, yet others bear no connection to the original story. And then, you realise, you don't even know what the original story is anymore.