Get on with the game, stop blaming cricket's bio-bubble

The Indian captain ignored the fact that the team played shoddy cricket


Cricket during the pandemic has taken a toll on players, said Indian skipper Virat Kohli this week. Bio-bubble fatigue is the reason for the team’s early exit from the tournament, he lamented. Other teams haven’t raised the issue as much as they make a living out of the game by being the gentlemen they are made out to be.

Aside from raising the bio-bubble babble, the Indian captain ignored the fact that the team played shoddy cricket against arch-rivals Pakistan who beat them for the first time in a World Cup. Their bowlers didn’t have a huge score to defend.

Against New Zealand, their record wasn’t worth writing home about. And staying true to history, the team made a dent in the record books after slumping to another loss. Pakistan and New Zealand were clearly the better teams. They deserved to win. Period. End of story and out of the tournament for Kohli’s men.

Now, for Kohli’s complaint, which we will hit for a six. If he didn’t realise, or if realisation has dawned late on the Indian skipper, yes, cricket has been played for more than a year in a bio-bubble to keep players safe from Covid-19.

It hasn’t been easy for them, the spectators and the administrators, but the game needed to survive the twin economic and health disasters brought on by the pandemic. Hence, the larger good mattered and officials managed to get the game going after six months in hibernation. Careers were on the line and the Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to stage the Indian Premier League last year in the UAE as cases were high in India.

Back then, it was lauded as a smart decision that ensured the safety of the players. The cricketers were delighted to back and the fans watched the matches from their sitting rooms as they were denied entry into stadiums that were sanitized and cleaned to prevent the spread of infection. The fun and entertainment were missing but the game was back on its feet and IPL was termed a success even before the advent of vaccines.

It was a forerunner to other tours, like the Indian team’s successful tour to Australia where they came back from the brink to seal the series. The truncated England tour notwithstanding, it’s been a decent year for cricket even during the pandemic, a once-in-a-century event. The players should thank bio-bubbles and those responsible for creating them — the organisers, officials, doctors, and other staff who toiled for the return of cricket during the pandemic. Commercial commitments and the IPL have been blamed by some like former Indian captain Kapil Dev. League over the country? Maybe. Kohli’s men have had a burnout. It’s okay to admit it. They’re humans after all. Why blame bio-bubbles?

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