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Should IPL continue in midst of mayhem created by pandemic?

While many insist IPL should go on as it provides succour from the everyday strain on mental health, the key argument against holding the matches is the inappropriate timing as thousands are dying every day in the country. It almost comes across as insensitive and tone deaf

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought India’s medical infrastructure to its knees, bringing along with it death and distress across the country. As lakhs test positive every day and families run from pillar to post to find a hospital bed or even worse, for oxygen cylinders, in another part of the country, every day cricket teams run between the wickets to keep the masses entertained and within their homes. The dichotomy caught the attention of netizens this weekend and generated divided opinions on social media on whether the annual edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) should continue.

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Partha Sinha, President at BCCL, shared a post on LinkedIn, conducting a poll on this, writing, “There are arguments both in favour of and against carrying on with IPL during this crisis period. Let’s hear the opinion of people on my timeline.” Until Sunday night 57% had voted for it to be continued.

Most suggested that it should be allowed to continue as it helps keep people at home and provides them a distraction from the misery around them. However, others suggested the IPL should share some profits for Covid Care and use the platform to raise awareness.

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While many insist that the IPL should go on as it provides succour from the everyday strain on people’s mental health due to the pandemic, the key argument against holding the matches is the inappropriate timing as thousands are dying every day in the country. It almost comes across as insensitive and tone deaf.

Many said if the matches were conducted outside India, it would not be as much of an issue. But having matches in the same cities where people are struggling for medical resources comes across as insensitive. Lauding R Ashwin for actively using social media to provide help for Covid emergencies, there were some tweets urging more cricketers to do their bit in helping the distressed.

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On Saturday, Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar raised the same question.

Meanwhile, The New Indian Express and its sister publication Morning Standard, in a bold move, announced that they had decided ‘to suspend IPL coverage in the newspaper with immediate effect till a semblance of normalcy is restored’.

“In such a tragic time, we find it incongruous that the festival of cricket is on in India, with layers of bio bubbles creating protection. This is commercialism gone crass. The problem is not with the game but its timing. Cricket, too, must accept that we are passing through an unprecedented crisis,” stated a notice issued by the newspaper on Sunday. 

This decision also got a mixed response on social media.

Many compared the IPL to the elections and said in that case, the newspaper should not be covering the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal and Kerala.

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