Unknowns aplenty: Cricket and Coronavirus
Being on the verge of resumption of cricketing action, teething troubles awaits all of us. Hope we have answers soon.
Published - Jun 20, 2020 3:27 pm | Updated - Jul 7, 2020 1:08 pm
“There is no such thing as impossible.” I’m sure that this clichéd aphorism must have been heard by every human on the blue planet! While listening to this cliché will brim you with optimism and positivity, there’s another side, like always! Indeed, nothing is impossible.
Not even the birth of a bemusing, invisible enemy wreaking havoc on human kind. In these absolutely flummoxing times, there is barely a thing untouched or unaffected by the petrifying Coronavirus, or as it is called, COVID-19. Would we have wanted “Sports” to be into the list of things unaffected by the pandemic? Yes! Did what we want happen? No!
How many of us would have been able to hear, let alone trust, anyone saying “A few days from now, Live Sport will be a rarity”? I would have certainly laughed it off. But, as it turns, nothing is impossible… Bam! Live sport is indeed a rarity today. The Corona-ravaged world is not an easy space for the resurrection of Sports.
Challenges are many and all bigger than one could fathom. The deadly novel pathogen has ensured that even when normalcy is established, the normal is not the pre-Corona normal, but a novel normal. As we pray for the unhindered resumption of International action, let’s take a look at how has this ghastly pandemic affected the most adored sport in India; Cricket.
1. Behind closed doors: A good plan B?
Cricket may be just another sport for some, but in India? Pick up a dictionary and search for the word “religion”, you may find Cricket enlisted as a synonym! There is nothing that this nation feels more frantic about. India could be playing a dead-rubber, but do Indians miss out on a chance to witness live cricketing action? Never! In fact, the undying support and ardency of Indian fans know no geographical confines. India could be playing Australia at Melbourne, and the Indian diaspora down under will ensure painting the MCG blue.
Before you get too carried away, the nature of witnessing Cricket is on the cusp and is going to stay that way for some time. Given the mind-boggling spreading abilities of the virus, cricket is, in all probability, going to be played behind closed doors. No matter how absurd this sounds, the fact that tens of thousands of people congregate to witness live action, with hardly any distance amongst each other, the stadiums can potentially become less of stadiums and more of CO-VID hotspots.
As a zealous aficionado of the game, the idea of cricket behind closed doors is a nightmarish one. What on earth could replace the boisterous stadium erupting jovially as MSD takes a walk inside? Or what could serve an alternative to the awed ovations that Kohli receives as he exquisitely drives one clocked at 150 kmph by Mitchell Starc through extra-cover with sheer perfection?
But, in an option of having no Cricket until everything falls into place and resuming International action behind closed doors, I am undoubtedly going to pick the latter.
The BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly has hinted to be on board for organizing cricket behind closed doors. On being asked about the fate of the indefinitely postponed IPL, the flamboyant southpaw claimed to have been “exploring all possible options”. BCCI Treasurer, Arun Dhumal, in a recent chat,, expressed his desire of hosting the IPL in the “presence of spectators.” However, if left with no other choice, IPL shall be held in empty stadiums, he said.
There’s an economic front to this problem as well. If not all, a considerable part of the revenue generated is by the sale of match tickets. To state the obvious, no audience means no sale of match tickets. But, in having something and nothing, the former is always more feasible. For instance, not having an IPL at all will cause losses to the tune of a whopping 4000 crores!
While the proceeds by tickets may not be on the table, it would be supremely naive of one to think that the revenue generation in cricket is so one-dimensional. In fact, the money made by mediums such as Media rights, title sponsorships, and advertisements is way more than the proceeds of match tickets can ever reach.
While the high decibel noise inside stadiums will be missed, Cricket behind closed doors, for the time being, looks a good plan B.