The era of corruption has ended!

MUKESH Gupta has refused to come to the party. Predictably so. If the ICC had any reason to believe that he would come forward and do the job which they have given to Sir Paul Condon (or Lord Condon or His Excellency, call him what you like) then they have been harbouring illusions. He made allegations against cricketers and much of what he said was found to be true. It is up to the ICC to prove whether the balance is true or not.

A question needs to be asked: now that Gupta is no longer part of the equation, does it mean that the charges against the likes of Mark Waugh and Brian Lara will be no longer investigated? Is Alec Stewart as pure as the driven snow? (as Lord MacLaurin would have us believe) Or in short, whose job is it to prove that a cricketer is guilty of match-fixing - Condon or Gupta?

You don't hear much talk about inquiries into these charges these days. Public memory, as always, is woefully short. Hansie Cronje managed to get the inquiry into corruption in South African cricket halted and is now looking to try and gain indemnity from prosecution; the final report from the inquiry denies him this as it says that there are doubts whether he told the inquiry everything which he knew about corruption in the game.

When the biggest crook the game has known has got away with hardly any penalty, does one expect that the lesser ones will be made to pay? Sooner or later, there will be statements from various countries that they have completed inquiries and duly concluded that the cricketers in their country were never involved in anything akin to match-fixing.

What then happens to Condon? Does he continue to travel the world and keep up the charade of investigating corruption in the game? Or does he get a promotion for a job well done? Will he be hailed as the man who helped rid the game of corruption? Or will someone be frank enough to call him what he is - a manipulator who has extended his working life at the expense of the game?

Ultimately, it looks like this whole investigation will end as many such inquiries do - in a farce. A year from today, I doubt very much that the word fixing will be mentioned at all. Not unless some unorthodox police force in a country which is considered the hotbed of corruption comes up with a bombshell again.

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