- One of the novel measures emerging out of the pandemic-induced challenges on the sporting arena was the creation of a strict biosafety bubble enabling only the players, support staff, officials, and few identified management personnel to stay together secluded from outside interactions. Necessity is the mother of all inventions that did prove right for an infinitesimal time when the sporting federations found a viable way to proceed further with competitions. However, what seemed to be working fabulously overcoming inherent challenges by presenting a semblance of normalcy without the presence of spectators but largely banking on the ubiquitous presence of the television broadcasting medium is slowly crumbling now.
PC: Aditya Saroha
- A case in point is the lucrative and hugely popular Indian Premier League T20 tournament which was successfully staged in the United Arab Emirates last year for its 13th edition and the presently underway 14th edition in India in select six cities is gradually unveiling fault lines. What goes beyond the comforts of the television screens involving all concerned, especially the players, deserves sympathetic understanding. Staying and hopping on to concatenation of successive bio-safety bubbles is not easy at all as the restricted environment created for the purpose is bound to elicit a substantive toll from the players and others. This situation is exceedingly tiresome to many, especially overseas recruits, without the freedom to move as one pleases.
- Add to it the absence of comforting presence of families, the recipe for feeling drained out and stressed is complete. Emerging situation vis-à-vis one wave after another covid wave has already taken a considerable toll sparing none in the bargain. Imagine the mental strain the situation might cause to the players’ psyche as uncertainty looms large. Sporadic cases of player withdrawals are being witnessed as incapable to cope with the physically demanding exertions on the cricketing arena as well as excruciatingly debilitating mental fatigue within completely draining every ounce of resources endowed. Consequently, there are already few withdrawals reported from the ongoing edition of the IPL citing personal reasons.
PC: Jakkie Cilliers
- Notable among the withdrawals is spin-ace Ravichandran Ashwin representing Delhi Capitals who has cited staying with the family as a reason and to extend all possible support in the fight against the Covid-19. Few more Australian players along with one English player have already left the Indian shores citing personal reasons. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well as the franchises are quite understanding of the players’ concerns and have exhibited solidarity with those wishing to quit the league in-between. The BCCI has also assured the overseas players that their safety will be of utmost importance and firmly stated that the league will be deemed concluded when all of them reach the comforts of the home safely.
- Of course, it is heartening to note that few of the overseas players have very bravely mentioning to stay put in the country amidst a ravaging second wave to provide whatever little entertainment to the people amidst prevalent gloom. Yes, these welcome camaraderie and heart-warming overtures are synonymous with sporting personalities which deserve to be acknowledged with applause. Millions of cricket fans will feel indebted for the courage and sensitivity exhibited by the players’ community during these hard times. Three cheers to them!