The IPL’s indefinite postponement was inevitable, but the fact organisers took so long to make the decision beggars belief, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Spare a thought for those in India.
The hundreds who are dying on a daily basis, and the hundreds of thousands testing positive for Covid-19 represent a tragic medical and humanitarian crisis.
Yet, until as recently as this past Sunday, the IPL tournament was carrying on in a ‘bubble’, seemingly under the premise that the safety measures taken could somehow prevent players, coaches and management from being infected.
The folly of this become abundantly apparent over the last couple of days as the bubble quite literally burst, and positive tests were recorded in various IPL camps.
On Tuesday, a statement released by the IPL smacked of hypocrisy and hollowness:
‘The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.
‘These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.’
Yet, just how difficult is it going to be for those involved in the IPL and stuck in India to actually get back home?
Just recently the Australian government warned that people entering from India could face five years behind bars. The threat came after travellers exposed a loophole by taking indirect flights home from India, including cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, who left their Indian Premier League clubs ahead of the ban.
There are a total of 11 South Africans currently at the tournament: AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Quinton de Kock, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Gerald Coetzee.
Spare a thought for them and their families as they now look to negotiate a route home, undeniably exposing themselves to immense risk while travelling.
It has to be asked how it has got to this point?
As the likes of Zampa, Richardson and Ravichandran Ashwin saw the warning signs and opted out of the IPL, how were organisers turning a blind eye to the perils of the Covid-19 crisis?
The refrain of ‘trying to bring in some positivity and cheer’ during this time would be comical if it weren’t so seriously absurd. How could the joys of sport ever trump the far more obvious and problematic by-product of putting people at risk?
The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have some answering to do. But I wouldn’t hold my breath, as callous as that unintentional pun may sound.