IPL is entertaining many, but as the situation is so dire, there will be many questioning the tournament. The second wave of coronavirus has hit India hard; people are panicking as the number of cases keeps increasing. Amidst all this, when a player says he wants to withdraw from IPL to go back to his home country, it would be justified.
Already few players have left IPL sighting the Covid19 risk. Questions linger in mind as to why this tournament had to be held now. When the country is suffering, was it really necessary to spend all the money on the game? Well, the argument goes on both sides – positive and negative.
While many will say that IPL this season was necessary. Cancelling or postponing it was not an option. Any tournament of this scale will obviously bring in a lot of money. It will provide jobs to thousands of people. For many, this is the only source of income. This money they will have to spend the entire year. So when it is a necessity for some, you can say that the tournament had to be held. It is not just about jobs and money.
Fans of the game have said that this is their source of healing, a distraction from the outside world. When panic engulfs the country, the only way people will talk about something else is when they are talking about cricket, about IPL. Cricket lovers await months for IPL as it is their biggest source of entertainment.
What about the Players?
The players are at the centre of all this. They are the ones who have to give their 100% on the field and when they fail to do so, also face flak from the audience. Will, does it not affect their mental health? All eyes are on you and your mind is somewhere else, it is very difficult to give your undivided attention to the game in such time.
Nowadays players don’t just have to think of the game. They need to plan and perform well as even a slight mistake can put them on the negative side of the cricket fandom. Fans are most of the times supportive, but there is media, your selector, the team and everybody who invested in the player and his performance. While the players already have to deal with so many things, Covid shouldn’t be another addition to their tensions.
They must be in constant touch with a counsellor or the franchise. What the players need right now, is a positive, cheerful environment. Ultimately if they want to leave, that should be their choice. Their decision should be respected as even these players have families. Bio-Bubble is safe but it is only natural that a person still has doubts.
It is easy getting confused. Many times you will attribute physical strength to mental well-being. A player will look healthy, but one can never comprehend what’s going on in their minds.
What can be done?
Firstly if a player wants to leave, they should be allowed to do so. That should be their decision. Questions will be raised regarding the timing of the tournament. While most of the nations have cancelled such events, it would be seen as the right call, cancelling IPL 2021 as well. But if that would happen, is something that the BCCI will decide.
Nothing is more important than safety. Cricketers like Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Tye have questioned BCCI and the government. When the country is under crisis, is it necessary you put so much money into a game?
Even former cricketer and MLC Prakash Rathod urged BCCI to cancel IPL. He contacted Karnataka State Cricket Association and demanded that all the matches in the state be cancelled. He further added that no such events should be held in the state till the situation betters.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Australian medium-pacer Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are among the players who left and are returning home.
Still, 40 matches are to be played. The teams will have to stay in bio-bubble. Till then it is to be seen what the Cricket board decided. As of now, they have confirmed that there are no plans to cancelling the tournament. BCCI said that IPL will go on but it will not become a hurdle for the players. Those wanting to leave will be allowed to do so.