When live cricket happens in India, which usually means featuring Indian cricketers, the focus of work forces in offices diverts to the mobile screens.
You suddenly find the urge to spend time in the cafeteria. The amount of WhatsApps exchanged among peer groups hit north.
The gatherings at chai-stalls mushroom to a large size and expert opinions begin to flow from all corners where there existed talks about traffic being an everyday irritant.
You wife could be calling for something urgent, but that can wait. At times, the talk of hitting your boss’s cabin to reinitiate the dialogue about the impending promotion can be sidelined for either Virat or Rohit is on song.
That’s more important.
So it’s pretty obvious that when the world’s most popular franchise-based league was in live action, there was little concern spared for the fact that the country in which it was being held was perhaps grappling the biggest demon, one bigger than the occasional bouncer hurled by a Rabada or Bumrah.
This is where I want you to indulge me for a moment.
Imagine there are two cups in front of you, one called life and the other profit.
You need to chose one though there is a caveat, your very existence is under threat owing to an external force.
For any sane person who cherishes his or her life, the cup to chose is a no brainer.
Well, for a body, the highest power in World Cricket, the answer is a bit different; the answer is the cup of profit.
Its simple, since almost a month and a half, the only thing soaring in our country has been numbers. The number of rising cases on the better side of 4 lakh a day, the number of deaths almost hitting the 4,000 mark daily.
Anyone who wondered what could be dreadful along the lines of paedophilia or the violence in Middle East- this is it.
Add to this mountain of misery, when the total number of cases that stares down on you is almost 2.14 crore with well over 2 lakh deaths, feeling helpless is an understatement.
Amid these numbers of sheer negativity and fear galore, fair to say the richest and most powerful cricket board persisted with numbers of a different kind; the BCCI saw numbers soaring in millions in profit.
Yes, to make profits is a certainly legal and sane thing. We’ve all got our jobs to do, our bank accounts to fill, our houses to feed.
Were only Indian cricketers – and remember it’s a nation that takes its cricketers a bit too seriously, treating them as demigods, emulating their moves- participating in the IPL?
It’s common knowledge the IPL is a mega entertainer. Never a dull day in front of the TV with the IPL on, especially if you’ve had a terrible outing in the day. Moreover, we know it’s a money spinner and despite a country reeling from possibly its biggest crisis in this century, the tournament went ahead on April 9.
Almost a fortnight into India’s second wave, a wave way more lethal than the first, much akin to a super spreader.
Under the pretext of calling it cricketing entertainment to alleviate the suffering imposed on thousands succumbing to the disease and for millions not getting oxygen and medicine on time owing to an overwhelmed medical infrastructure, the IPL as some saw it was the much-needed ointment on a deep wound.
Well, we see it differently with all due respect to a cricket board and its superstars that are responsible for filling our entertainment pallete and quenching our thirst for enjoying cricketing excellence.
But there are times, when a social media post regarding who needs oxygen and where urgently becomes far too important than spending eyeballs on a fantasy gaming app advertisement. Regardless of whether your favorite cricketer is encouraging you to partake in it.
And it took the Indian board almost a month to indefinitely suspend the much-hyped global tournament when their rather unbreachable bio-bubble was comprehensively beaten by the C Virus after reporting five confirmed positive cases across three franchises.
Within days, the great Sourav Ganguly even had to answer calls as to how might the supposedly secure bio-bubble came to be breached?
Why did it have to come down to that? Who is to blame?
We wish we had answers to these questions.
But with a heavy heart, must we say- only that profit and earning is supreme and serves its true purpose that brings peace and smiles to many. Lives are far more important, cricket can and should have waited.
Thank god, there was no casualty. May better sense prevail in the times ahead.
Note: this article is jointly penned by Pranay Rangra and Dev Tyagi and does not mean to rebuke the venerable BCCI!