When the world sleeps peacefully in the wake of a pandemic, India is wide awake and grappling with a fatal disease, where the Indian Premier League took “The Show Must Go On” quite literally.
The IPL, partially hosted at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, is very close to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital Delhi, where people are losing lives due to oxygen scarcity, no transportation, no monetary funding, no safety, no guarantee to see another day.
While players, team owners, and The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) officials cheer in an enclosed stadium with ultimate security, sanitization, precautions, food, water, and safety kits, the mass population is outside their gates, dying due to lack of resources and much more.
What Was The Situation Before Delhi Lockdown?
IPL’s 2021 budget was nearly 85 crore rupees. While the health system collapses and the economy cannot sustain another lockdown, money is still being provided to continue the league.
Even though in the initial few days of the league, players like Axar Patel, Devdutt Padikkal, Daniel Sams, and Wankhede Stadium’s ground staff, all tested positive and were quarantined for treatment, BCCI decided that the league must go on.
Is The Discontinuation Necessary?
Multiple official statements were released regarding the precautions and the tests being conducted before and during the matches. Delhi Capitals’ senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and umpire Nitin Menon departed the IPL bubble, citing Covid-19 concerns within their families.
Not to forget with the rise in cases, Australia banning all Indian flights, foreign players raised their concerns too. Adam Zampa and Andrew Tye shared their anxieties regarding the pandemic situation outside the IPL bubble. Concerns were dismissed, the league continued.
Speaking from his hotel after touch down in Australia, Andrew Tye said that, the IPL biosecurity bubbles shielded the players from many of the horrors that are going on in India. “Inside the bubble, it’s incredibly safe and we are very well looked after,” he said.
“It’s just the craziness of what’s going on outside of it, we get incredibly well sheltered from, that’s a bit harrowing. You can drive through the streets and not see any of it but then you look on the news and you see what’s happening and it’s just stark in comparison to what they are saying,” he added.
What Was The BCCI’s Stand?
The BCCI defends the ongoing league in the name of a distraction. Full precautions are being taken for the safety of players and the staff.
A privileged distraction is what I’ll call it. Is it really a distraction, when people do not have enough resources, no crematoriums left, no food, no jobs, no money for health care, confusion all around, medicine far more potent than a Remdesivir that remains unavailable and unavailing, vaccination that isn’t available anymore in multiple states?
What Is Their Duty Towards The Citizens?
Estonia Cricket Association, IPL teams, multiple players, superpowers are donating money for COVID-19 care, while BCCI is still choosing to live in their bubble. After repeated high alerts, the league continues, money that could have been used and still can, is being used unethically.
It isn’t just about a simple match, it is the players, the ground staff, their families, the players’ families, foreign players, the background staff, a whole industry at work, and risk amidst a pandemic.
There is still time to help, save lives and save ourselves. Social media is helping day in and out, the government is on its toes, people with no means are helping, then why can’t these privileged beings behind all flashlights and oxygenated rooms help?
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