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IPL Pomp In COVID Gloom: More Questions Than Answers

IPL Pomp COVID Gloom

Kolkata: As many as 3,49,391 new COVID-19 cases and 2,767 deaths in the last 24 hours in India! Yes, you heard that right.

Most of these cases are coming from mainly five states – Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Kerala — contributing to more than half of the total – 54 per cent to be precise.

People are dying gasping for breath. The scarcity of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders has shown the administration’s preparedness in poor light. Both Central and state governments seem to have left it to almighty to wriggle them out of the turmoil.

In its second wave of the deadly virus, people are dying while waiting for oxygen in the hospitals while families are waiting for hours to perform the funeral rites of their deceased ones.

According to a Reuters report, one of the Delhi crematoriums has resorted to building pyres in its parking in order to cope with the rising number of deaths in the Union Territory.

However, with crisis piling on, one after another, there are few things that are continuing unhindered.

In case you didn’t know, the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League is currently underway at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

While many feel that it’s a breather from the gloom of watching the procession of death, there is a section that is raising another valid point justifying the cancellation of the mega event.

Imaging the scenes at Wankhede Stadium with players rejoicing a boundary or a scalp, few kilometres away the pyres are burning round the clock with near and dear ones crying for help. It is as embarrassing as it could get.

Former Australian cricketer-turned-commentator Adam Gilchrist is the first from the sporting fraternity to raise the question of whether the tournament should continue.

“Best wishes to all in India Frightening Covid numbers. #IPL continues. Inappropriate? Or important distraction each night? Whatever your thoughts, prayers are with you,” Gilly tweeted.

One of the most prominent newspapers of the country, The New Indian Express has ceremoniously dumped the IPL coverage till normalcy returns. But will these developments bother the BCCI? That’s the million-dollar question that should be asked to board president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.

It’s true that the tournament is being staged in a bio-bubble, but is entertainment above peoples’ lives and the mood of a nation?

Instead of spending hundreds of crores for the T20 league, why doesn’t the BCCI help the government from its coffers?

At a time when the government is importing oxygen from off-shore nations to save lives, cricket can’t celebrate in a boisterous way as it is in India. Being the richest cricketing body in the world, the BCCI donated only Rs 51 lakh last year during the lockdown. Is it enough?

Take the example of the World Road Safety Series. The tournament which is being played by the retired international cricketers was stopped last year due to COVID. It resumed again this year (before the second wave lashed India) with Indian Legends winning the title.

Despite being in the bio-bubble entirely for the series, the individuals like Sachin Tendulkar, Pathan brothers – Irfan and Yusuf, Subramanium Badrinath, all tested positive post the tournament. Can BCCI assure that the players won’t contract the virus after they come out of the bubble after the tournament is over?

Well, the country is neither against the BCCI nor cricket nor players. It is the timing that has been in question. Not staging an IPL edition won’t make the world upside down. Instead, the BCCI should have volunteered to help the governments save lives.

Are the BCCI, players and administrators listening?

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Keaton Padmakar

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