Just as cricket has survived numerous scandals in the past, so it will the alleged spot-fixing saga that exploded in our faces with the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League seemingly headed for a smooth climax. The supposed involvement of S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan in accepting money from bookmakers for conceding a pre-determined quantum of runs in a specific over will have come as a huge blow to Rajasthan Royals, who under Rahul Dravid have attempted to play cricket in the manner in which it must be, as indeed to the cricketing fraternity that is just about coming to terms with the made-to-order no-balls sent down by Pakistan's fast bowlers in England two years back. But cricket will go on, as it should. Only, at least in the immediate future, every poor delivery will be discussed and dissected, every dropped catch looked at with tinted glasses, every ungainly stroke viewed with scepticism and cynicism.
Why, oh why, Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan succumbed to greed when they were already making enough money legally, only they can answer. Cricket could so easily have done without this latest unsavoury episode that has seen one international player and two other first-class cricketers arrested - yes, arrested - by the Delhi Police, who have quite an impressive history of 'accidentally' stumbling upon big-name cricketers yielding to the lure of the lucre.
It was impossible, when television channels proclaimed through 'Breaking News' headers that Sreesanth had been arrested, not to turn the clock back some 13 years and recall the same Delhi Police blow the lid off Hansie Cronje's involvement with illegal bookmakers. Where Sreesanth's alleged involvement has triggered little more than a weary resignation, when Cronje's name first came up in match-fixing - no less - it was accompanied by a sense of disbelief and incredulity, the first thought being that the Delhi Police had bitten off more than it could chew.