Some people are demanding that the ongoing IPL be wound up. The reasons are varied. There are those who feel that it is unsuitable and in bad taste to hold such events at a time when so many deaths are taking place from Covid-19. Others feel, like Australian pace bowler Andrew Tye, it is an extravagance on the part of franchisees to spend on the tournament when the money could be used for fighting the pandemic.
They could not be more wrong. This is because the IPL is presently playing a very important role in providing psychological relief to a populace that has been greatly stressed by the pandemic’s impact on their lives. The constant stream of bad news, much of it repetitive and ill-informed, puts an unnecessary burden on their minds as they struggle to cope with the demands of earning a livelihood in an increasingly constrained atmosphere. The IPL with its action and heroics is helping raise morale.
Also, at a time when the challenge is to find a new functioning normal after the lockdowns and the curfews, the IPL is an excellent experiment on how ‘bio-bubbles’ can play a role in making it possible. So far, it has succeeded in keeping the infection out through very strict protocols, although there are reports that the regimen is taking a toll on the players’ minds. Of course, they are playing to empty stadiums and it will be some time before the spectators make their return. As for the Tye argument, he should know that there is no money if the tournament is not held. The IPL provides a living to thousands of people directly and indirectly. Money is useful if it moves. The nation needs as many parts of its economy going as it can. The long term effects of an artificially induced recession can be devastating, which is why the major dilemma before governments around the world is how to ‘open up’ without spreading the infection. Many versions of it are being tried out. It would be better if those offering advice put their money where their mouth is as has cricketer Pat Cummins with his donation of $50,000 to the PM CARES Fund.
In fact, the social media crusaders attempting to solve the problems one post at time could do much better if they volunteer in local efforts to ameliorate conditions. Private doctors could offer their services once or twice a week at the Covid centres and give some relief to the regular workers. Housewives could provide food to homes hit by Covid. And, so on. The world would be a better place for it.