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Indiana John's legacy

IT HAS taken an independent inquiry panel two months to tell us what any sensible individual knew right away: Mark Waugh and Shane Warne should have been suspended for selling information about pitch and weather conditions to an Indian bookmaker four years ago.

Warne, who is in the Caribbean, has had the gumption to say that the matter has been dealt with and is now over. Waugh has not reacted.

What else could the inquiry have come up with? Could it have issued a finding that justified either the actions of the cricketers or those of the board officials who covered up the whole thing? If some journalist had not asked a few inconvenient questions, would it have come out at all? Indiana John would never have figured in the lexicon of cricket writers, that's for sure!

Of late, there has crept into the demeanour of cricketers a dismissive kind of arrogance. An attitude that says: "No matter what we do, you will still come to watch us. And we can get away with anything. Just watch." This was what was witnessed at the press conference some time ago when Warne and Waugh turned up, read statements and refused to take questions.

This kind of inquiry is a joke. It is gone through merely to placate people, most of all some journalists who have been baying for blood. The board blundered badly in keeping the affir under the covers all this time and now it wants to play the good guy. I pity Ricky Ponting; he had to bear a harsh verdict to make up for the sins of others.

Increasingly, boards of control (that is a misnomer for they appear to be anything but in control) of the game of cricket are showing a reluctance to tackle issues head-on; the money that accrues to officials is the main consideration. A fairly glaring case is evident in the Caribbean. The Australian board is certainly learning from the likes of these officials.

Pakistan's reaction is another form of cover-up. Khalid Mohammed, the man who is said to have prevented the Pakistan inquiry from coming to a conclusion, has issued sanctimonious statements trying to deflect blame and basically telling the world, "they are dirty, we are cleaner." The truth is that the brown stuff has hit the ceiling and fallen over all these blokes. Trouble is they seem to be unaware about it. All of which means that things have come to a pretty pass.