India’s Premier League has sparked outrage for playing through the country’s brutal Covid-19 wave, attracting accusations of ‘rude’ conduct and diverting vital resources from tackling the public health emergency.
Several players, including Ravichandran Ashwin, the first Indian spinner, and three Australians withdrew from the cricket tournament this week due to concerns about The growing number of cases in India.
Infections hit a world record of 386,000 on Friday, along with 3,500 reported deaths, which experts believe is a significant undercount.
Matches in the IPL, money-spinning cricket league which attracts the world’s best talent, continued to be held in the capital New Delhi and Ahmedabad. Cities are among the hardest hit in the country, facing challenges oxygen shortage, tests, ambulances and hospital beds, patients dying from lack of care.
In contrast, IPL actors and staff in these cities have been confined in ‘biosecurity’ bubbles, tested regularly, and have access to emergency medical assistance which critics say should be used to support services. health overwhelmed. The games were played without spectators.
The New Indian Express newspaper said this week it would suspend coverage of the tournament, which it called “commercialism gone rude.” In an editorial, he writes that “the moans of ambulances drown out the sound of leather meeting the sweet spot of willow.”
Australia’s fast bowler Andrew Tye, among those who have withdrawn from the tournament, said he feared he would get stuck overseas by a possible flight ban, since imposed by Canberra.
He added that he sympathized with the tournament’s critics, telling Australian Radio SEN: “Looking at things from an Indian perspective, how are these companies and franchises and the government spending so much money on it? ‘IPL when people are not able to do it? to be accepted at the hospital?
Gary Lineker, the former England footballer and broadcaster, wrote on Twitter that “it seems so terribly wrong to [the IPL] to continue given the Covid disaster that is currently happening in India. People are dying faster than races are marked for screaming out loud. “
Since its launch in 2008, IPL has revolutionized cricket with its fast-paced version of the sport. The tournament, which started this month and ends on May 30, is typically one of the most lucrative events of the year for brands and organizers.
Supporters retorted that the IPL plays a valuable role. Disney-owned broadcaster Star added public service messages to its coverage encouraging viewers to follow pandemic guidelines, such as wearing masks. “It is a very good platform for the government to communicate with the masses,” said a leader involved in the tournament.
Pat Cummins, another Australian fast bowler, donated $ 50,000 to a relief fund set up by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. “Playing every night for three or four hours, we hope will help keep people home.” mentionned. “We can help them get through every day.”
Amid concerns over the exodus of foreign players, India’s cricket control board has vowed to bring them all home at the end of the season despite the countries impose travel bans is India.
Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister, said there was no special arrangement to repatriate IPL players.
Sushant Singh, a senior researcher at the Center for Policy Research, said the tournament could allow authorities “to show a degree of normalcy” throughout the crisis.
Indian cricket authorities have closed ties to the ruling establishment. BCCI Secretary Jay Shah is the son of Amit Shah, Home Secretary and Narendra Modi’s right-hand man.
Singh said the tournament is expected to take place in another country, such as the United Arab Emirates, which hosted the IPL last year. “If you held it in the UAE, you wouldn’t cause this diversion of resources,” he said.
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