Why IPL shouldn’t be postponed despite the pandemic

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When the guard is let down, that is the time when the enemy strikes. This can be compared to the current condition of India, which has been ravaged by coronavirus’ second wave in epic proportions. While people begrudgingly and laden with fear still step out to meet their needs in a bubble of chaos, the sporting world including IPL continues its activities in a bubble of hope. 

Why IPL shouldn't be postponed despite the pandemic

India recorded over 3.5 lakh cases on Monday, a record high on a global for the fourth successive day in a row. Amid the flashing numbers and the persistent panic, several players have parted ways with the ongoing edition including Liam Livingstone, R Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, and Kane Richardson.

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The departures, the alarming numbers, and the danger associated with it has prompted people such as Shoaib Akhtar to suggest calling off the tournament entirely midway.

Despite the glaring absence of a crowd, it would be foolish to say that the fans are not with their teams. The unanimous support continues to flood the franchises through social media and other platforms.

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The average Indian, which is the league’s biggest endorser, has been hit hard with the pandemic. It has caused them to be detached economically, socially, and mentally given the circumstances that have wrecked the economy and other aspects. It is to be stressed that the dire situation has impacted severely irrespective of age, gender, race, or caste.

Given that athletes are the only ones that can bring positive emotion or reaction to these people, why deny them? The three and a half hours of action prove to be a vital distraction in each and every household. The gripping fixtures can bring a smile, grunt, groan, or agony, but it will vanish the reality for just a while, something which we all need at the moment.

It is a win for the athletes too. They still get to showcase and hone their skills on a global scale. Much like IPL’s motto claims, ‘Where Talent Meets Opportunity’, it has been the case. The younger players such as Chetan Sakariya, coming off a difficult time, is having an experience of a lifetime, which could be the stepping stone to something promising. Would it be possible, if the league is halted?

The existence of IPL gives a vast number of economic opportunities for other off-field ventures as well. With IPL being the core, several branches exist, without which it would cease to exist.

Numerous fields have thrived because of IPL including hotels that take care of accommodation, airlines, and buses which are responsible for travel and even broadcast and advertising.

These areas have taken a serious hit due to the pandemic and despite their inactivity, they still have to pay the taxes due on them by the government. To make this possible, the companies lay off people, which brings us back to square one.

The biggest concern for many is safety, and rightly so. However, it has to be noted that IPL successfully conducted the 13th edition of the tournament with efficiency bound by strict SOP guidelines bound by the bio-bubble.

Similarly, despite the alarming number of cases, with the players being in a bio-bubble, the chances of contracting the virus are very less. The tournament has not reported a single case since its start. The positive cases were picked out in the first round of testing and have even completed their quarantine period to get back into the field.

The important execution of the safety protocols is vital since improper conduct can see cases emerge in a bio-bubble. This leaves the organizers with no choice but to postpone the event, something which was seen in the latest edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Given the crumbling healthcare system of India which has led to heart-wrenching pleas for oxygen, medicines, and beds, Australian pacer Pat Cummins set an example by donating a generous sum of $50,000 to the PM-CARES fund.

The reason behind Cummins’ donation stems from the love India has given to him, and it is only about time that the other cricketers step up and do the same. And at this juncture of time, we could use it.

“As players we are privileged to have a platform that allows us to reach millions of people that we can use for good. With that in mind, I have made a contribution to the “PM Cares Fund,” specifically to purchase oxygen supplies for India’s hospitals,” the Australian wrote.

“I encourage my fellow IPL players – and anyone around else the world who has been touched by India’s passion and generosity – to contribute. I will kick it off with $50,000,” he said.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) set an example to the world of how the sport and pandemic can go hand in hand provided the safety regulations are being followed.

MMA returned to the scene while the rest of the sporting world was halted with UFC 249. While it was scheduled for April 18 last year, the organization brought back the action on the bank of a 25-page SOP document relating to safety.

The event ultimately was held on May 9, and still goes strong with the UFC 261 taking the world by storm earlier this week.

This is a perfect example of how sports can distract and unite the world which is currently battling a common enemy, and India, combating a larger contingent of the enemy, can sure take a leaf from their pages to ease people’s hearts.

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