IPL MUST GO ON- AT WHAT COST?

about 18 days ago
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The pictures of films stars holidaying in the Maldives really ticked off almost everyone in India. The entire country is down on its knees and in these times, who really in their right minds posts such insensitive pictures?

Instead of all these film stars holidaying or jettisoning off to other countries in private jets, it would have been heartening to see them use their power and money for the benefit of the people; after all it is we the people, all those who are hurting and dying today, who made them the stars they are today, isn’t it?  

In the same vein, many feel that the ongoing IPL is downright insensitive, putting pressure with their “bio bubble” on the already stressed system. And with so much pain, playing cricket does seem too frivolous, that too for some insane amounts of money. In the same vein, if the IPL has to continue, why can’t the players and BCCI use their money and power to help people? There are some players who have pulled out of the league – R Ashwin, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Liam Livingstone, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh and RCB's Josh Philippe but most others are sticking on.

BCCI continues to live in its bio-bubble, with financial reasoning superseding all logic, saying that the IPL will continue. Yes, we all know that the show much go on but at what cost? If this had been the state of the pandemic in other countries, say England or even Australia, there is no doubt that the games would have been cancelled. And here, we are debating.

This gumption probably stems from the fact that the secretary of the BCCI is none other than Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah. And that explains why and how the BCCI could create and afford this bio-bubble for a domestic tournament – this is not even like an international Olympics event. This also explains how BCCI could get special Govt privileges like the creation of separate check-in counters and security corridors in airports for players and all associated with the IPL. This is not a ‘national’ tournament yet it enjoys this treatment. Exams are cancelled and major national events are postponed, why then does the IPL continue?

There is one school of thought which finds the IPL in current circumstances, completely appalling as it is entertainment and celebration every night while there are thousands of us dying, gasping for breath and begging for life-saving medication.

And then there is the other which feels that this four-hour match keeps people indoor every evening, providing some sense of normalcy during these extraordinarily painful times. But at what cost?

Irrespective of what we think, it all boils down to one truth – money. IPL is BCCI’s mulch cow – this edition of the IPL is expected to generate around Rs.3300 crore this year. The saddest part, despite being so rich (and callous), the BCCI has not paid any money yet to the players, coaches, support staff and countless others who are ensuring that the show must go on. And BCCI says that they will be paid only if the show does go on.

Cricket is said to be like religion for us Indians but looks like a religious gathering of thousands and a league cricket match are much bigger than the lives of people.

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