The situation in India at present is grave and worrying. The second wave of the dreaded Covid-19 virus has hit the country like a bolt from the blue. It is spreading all across India like a ‘Tsunami’ and is affecting every segment of the population.
The pertinent question that has arisen is whether the Indian Premier League (IPL) should continue or not.
The IPL at present is the life-line for Indian cricket and cricketers. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) could have easily held it in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) like they did six months ago.
However, having successfully accomplished a series against England during the pandemic earlier and being given the hosting rights for the T20 World Cup later in the year, the BCCI needed to show that cricket can be played even in this dire situation.
The BCCI has been able to successfully run the first half of the tournament without a blemish and one has to give credit to the players, staff and administrators who made it possible.
Unfortunately in India, the success story of the cash-rich IPL has become a difficult pill to swallow.
Anything or anyone doing well is for some reason brought down.
Indians suffer from crabs-in-a-bucket mentality. There will always be one trying to bring down another who is going up.
The IPL too is becoming a victim of people who say that since everything around is bleak, cricket shouldn’t be played.
One does understand the anti-cricket sentiments but the IPL is being played in empty stadia with all involved in a bio-secure bubble which keeps each one of them safe and sound.
Cricket is not utilising oxygen cylinders, beds in hospitals or recovery drugs required for people suffering from this pandemic. The cocooned cricketers, who are themselves lonely and in a stifling situation while completing their assignment, are giving the millions of followers of the game an entertainment to forget the situation prevailing around them.
One, therefore, is perplexed at suggestions that a cricket tournament, which has not brought any harm yet, should be terminated just to show how one cares for the suffering.
The IPL is a wonderful platform to convey messages to the millions of fans following it. Rather than having full-fledged debates about the virus on TV and social media, the conveying of simple do’s and don’ts in local languages would be just the tonic the doctor ordered.
Most Indians need simple instructions and information, and the IPL could be the right platform for it.
Advertisement in the IPL is one area that the sponsors need to look at quite seriously. Most of the commercials are quite unbearable and this would be an ideal situation for them to come forth with serious and useful messaging.
There is a ridiculous talk of IPL taking away funds from companies that otherwise could have been diverted to the Covid battle.
One can be assured that each of these companies sponsoring are not small players and have enough in their kitty to support the Covid cause along with the IPL.
The BCCI has always supported the PM Cares Fund in the past, even during the first wave of Covid. One is quite sure that they will continue to do so in the future.
One does feel sorry for the cricketers, administrators and support staff locked up in their private chambers. The job of playing the sport that they love and providing entertainment to their fans and followers at a time when getting employment is at a premium, must be enough of an incentive for them to play even under these circumstances.
Some players have indicated anxiety and left the IPL to be with their near and dear ones and this is quite understandable too.
Each player in the bubble is worried and concerned and for them to be playing cricket is a far better option than being locked-up, bored with nothing to do, similar to what they experienced a year ago.
For most of the cricketers, the six months away from the sport last year was the most difficult time they faced.
Presently, cricketers are the actors of the entertainment world and as the famous Bollywood star Raj Kapoor always said, “the show must go on”.