Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: A cricket question that breaks every one’s heart

Filed on April 27, 2021

The country’s broken healthcare system has been brutally exposed by a virus that doesn’t respect the man-made divide between the rich and the poor.

Before we question the sanity of having a glitzy, money-spinning event like the Indian Premier League (IPL) amid a harrowing health crisis in India, all sports fans must ask themselves a simple question: Would Wimbledon, the richest of all tennis tournaments, have gone ahead if the UK had gone through what India have been experiencing now? Scores of people in the world’s second most populous country are dying every day, with many of them losing their lives due to an acute shortage of life-saving equipment in hospitals. The country’s broken healthcare system has been brutally exposed by a virus that doesn’t respect the man-made divide between the rich and the poor. Agreed, the event was planned in India by the world’s richest cricket board at least three months ago. This was the time when India’s political leaders were seemingly oblivious to an impending second wave, giving rousing speeches in front of thousands of people at election rallies.

Then as the 14th edition of the world’s biggest T20 franchise league came closer, states like Maharashtra already began battling a giant new wave of coronavirus infections. Leaders in the upper echelons of the Indian cricket board had been repeatedly asked by the media if it would be wise to host the IPL in India. The Indian media had a valid point. After all, they had seen how the UAE made the 2020 edition of the IPL a roaring success, albeit without the fans in the stadiums. Time and again, though, the BCCI top bosses ignored those concerns, even stating that the UAE was not even an ‘option’ this year for the IPL. But now the magnitude of the human tragedy in India has compelled everyone to ask the question whether it’s wise to have the IPL anywhere this year.

It just looks odd when the world’s richest cricketers are getting richer, sending more money to the BCCI coffers at a time when people are dying due to Oxygen shortage at hospitals. To be blunt, the 2021 IPL will go down in history as the edition that made merry even as a deadly virus brought the country to its knees. No wonder then that Andrew Tye, the Rajasthan Royals pace bowler who was one of the three Australian players to have left the IPL with growing virus concerns, failed to make sense of the tournament amid the mass destruction. “Looking at it from an Indian point of view, how are these companies and franchises spending so much money, and the government, on the IPL when there’s people not being able to get accepted into hospital?” Tye told cricket.com.au after arriving in Australia. It’s a question that breaks the heart. But can it prod those calling the shots to reflect on their actions?

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