Dope Testing, Ashes, and Match Fixing: A Week is a Long Time in Cricket

Rajshekhar MalaviyaCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2009

LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 09: Umpire Billy Bowden signals during day three of the npower 4th Ashes Test Match between England and Australia at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on August 9, 2009 in Leeds, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

What a week its been. The oldest cricketing rivalry has found a new script, a new controversy has been discussed as much as Flintoff's impending retirement, and then as much as cricket may try, there is one issue that continues to occupy centre stage from time to time, even as its staged through the most clandestine of methods. Or maybe it just seems so.

England managed a draw in the first Ashes test, through some resolute tail-end batting, and then with some help from the 12th and the 17th man. They thrashed the Aussies in the second and from the third have once again looked like an ordinary team.

The Aussies have played their part in changing the body language of the English, but any one with a passing interest in the game will agree that the credit can't entirely rest with Ponting and his men, and the marauding days of Border, Taylor, and Waugh will take a while to return.

They don't seem to be coming back in a hurry, even if the Aussies seem like going back home with the urn.

Closer home, two sub-continental teams played a series that's alleged to have been fixed, by, of all people, Indian bookies. When people across the world allege that India controls the game through money power, do they tale this into account as well?

The funny point in all this is that the Pakistanis spoke about INDIAN BOOKIES, and not just bookies. Would it have been better if the bookies were from Pakistan? Or Sri Lanka? Or, better still, from England or Australia?

Anyway, the Pak skipper has lent credence to the match-fixing rumours by saying that senior players didn't cooperate with him, Nothing new, Younis, Pak cricket is only following a tradition.

And now, back home. Indian cricketers have managed to make WADA a household name in India and perhaps several other parts of the world. WADA may never need to hire a PR agency, with so much having been made of it wanting to intrude players' privacy and imperil their security.

But the same players came for a fitness test to Delhi's Kotla ground and there wasn't a single cop for miles.

It's just a funny old game, cricket.