The Indian Premier League season will continue as scheduled, despite the country’s coronavirus death toll topping 200,000 in one day and players fleeing.
There have been widespread calls for cricket’s richest tournament to be cancelled as the pandemic takes a grip of India, but a senior board official has insisted that it is business as usual for the IPL.
At least 300,000 people have tested positive for the virus every day over the last week, and organisers have been begging the biggest IPL stars not to quit the league as fears continue to rise.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has also been accused of being ‘tone-deaf’ in its stance, but a senior official has insisted that the sport is providing much-needed relief during the country’s toughest times.
‘It’s probably more important now to hold IPL, when there is so much negativity around,’ The Guardian quoted an official.
‘We should not underestimate the power of sport to spread positivity. At least fans are absorbed in it at home. Otherwise many of them will step out without masks. The league generates considerable money for the economy. It has to be seen from that context, too. How does stopping IPL help?’
Meanwhile, worried cricketers are continuing to pull out of the competition, giving up huge wages in a bid to get home to a safer environment. READ
In response, the acting chief executive of the BCCI, Hemang Amin, sent an email to the league’s eight franchises assuring them of players’ safety inside the bio-secure bubble.
Several Indian newspapers have suspended coverage of the competition ‘until normalcy is restored’.