Alec Swann - The high and low in a week

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The past few days have seen the peaks and troughs of cricket laid out bare.

Yesterday, India’s Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from the game, three days after Allen Stanford was found guilty of a £4.4b fraud.

One of the aforementioned was one of the game’s finest practitioners and the other, while possessing little in the way of playing ability, will be forever linked to the sport in this country.

And if the former was the embodiment of all that was good, the latter was a walking example of the modern-day obsession with the almighty dollar.

I can clearly recall, in 1996, a callow, fresh-faced tourist falling just short of a hundred on his Test debut at Lord’s and being enthralled with the purity of his style and the poise displayed in the (then) biggest game of his career.

I can also clearly recall a helicopter landing on the Nursery Ground at the same venue in 2008 carrying a Texan billionaire and a perspex box crammed with £20m in £50 notes.

This too led to a sense of enthrallment – a macabre one – regarding the level that the game’s hierarchy was willing to stoop in its pursuit of a big pay day.

Yesterday’s announcement in Bangalore that Dravid’s stellar career had finished marked the conclusion of a 16-year trek across the highest peaks, of more than 24,000 runs on the international stage.

Tuesday’s announcement in a Texan courtroom that Stanford had been found guilty of 13 of 14 charges relating to high-level fraud brought to an end an altogether more sordid journey.

So while cricket in its purist form bids adieu to an ambassador, the game in its basest state does the same to one of its seediest characters.

Farewell Rahul and good riddance Allen.