There are stronger words to use, but I’ll settle on ‘disgust’ at how tone deaf every cricketer in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and every coach and management member have been.
This was a case for player power and for players to say ‘enough’.
It boggles the mind that any player can be oblivious to the Covid carnage that is ripping India apart, with 300 000 daily infections and thousands of daily deaths been confirmed.
The imagery of people dying in hospital queues, of people carrying their loved ones to a place of mass burial and of people so sick because of Covid has been broadcast globally.
I get that the greed and money obsessed Indian cricket bosses and those who dictate decisions within the Indian Premier League would want to gloss over anything that will curtail revenue and broadcasting income, but I don’t get how any player can with any form of consciousness continue to play in the IPL?
They are all on social media. They are seeing exactly what you and I are seeing. It is disgusting that they are still playing and that the IPL bosses are justifying the cricket as being an escape for Indians from the reality of Covid.
The players, with the odd exception, are tone deaf. Some players have left, but they have done so out of a fear for their own health. I haven’t read of players who have said the tournament should be stopped, given the country’s current crisis.
I haven’t read or viewed player outpourings of social consciousness.
I have read a lot about players talking about their bio-bubble; how safe it is or how vulnerable they are because of a bubble not up to international standards.
These privileged elite have the gall to put cricket and themselves first when a nation’s people are being crippled.
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To read of players, healthy, young and physically in pristine condition, jumping the queue to get vaccinated and then publicly talking about it is sickening.
World renowned journalist, activist and author Arundhati Roy, in the Guardian Newspaper, wrote that India ‘was witnessing a crime against humanity.’
Roy’s prose was more a scream for help for her beloved India and her people.
‘It is hard to convert the full depth and range of the trauma, the chaos and the indignity that people are being subjected to,’ she wrote.
A country that is home to 18 percent of the world’s population is ravaged because of Covid.
Yet professional cricketers from around the world, including a handful of South Africans, continue to bat, bowl, field, groan at a missed catch and cheer at a catch, a wicket or a boundary.
It is indescribable that these cricketers are so numbed to the reality of what is going on in India and I don’t actually have a word to do justice to how I felt when listening to them describe why they should continue playing.
If I did, I can assure you it wouldn’t be fit for publication.
In Britain, Covid infections are at the lowest level for a year: just 757 people are getting ill with the disease each day.
The message from Britain is that the Covid crisis is not over and the debate continues about when crowds can return to sporting events and what sporting events should continue.
In India, 300 000 plus people are being infected a day and bio-bubbled cricketers refuse to look up from their huddles.
It screams ‘entitlement, arrogance and ignorance.’
India is recording as many deaths a day as there have been tournament runs scored.
Morally, it is just wrong that the IPL continues to be played.
Article appears in the Cape Times and IOL Sport, under ‘Keo’s Corner’