Cricket’s richest and most popular T20 league, IPL, gets a golden break as Cricket Australia takes a pragmatic decision to put off the T20 World Cup by a year. The scenario of IPL grabbing the window in the schedule to save its 2020 season was always likely to fructify.
It took a while for a nation sporting fresh vulnerabilities after Victoria closed its borders to deal with new virus outbreaks to declare that building an eco-bubble for 16 cricket teams would be an impossible logistical exercise amid fears surrounding the pandemic.
It would be extremely cynical to believe money is the sole winner here as IPL gets its coveted place in the cricket calendar.
Not in India though where its fan base of hundreds of millions of people is, but in an eco-bubble in Dubai in UAE, which has the infrastructure to hold the league all on its own, even leaving out neighbouring Emirates with cricket stadiums like Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
The sporting millionaires — created by India’s aspirational middle class who enable the near Rs 4,000 crore television rights deal that is the raison d'étre of IPL — will be most pleased as a significant payday looms even though that same middle class is one of the worst sufferers in the Covid-19 situation.
Test cricket, which resumed in the UK in a well planned eco-bubble — broken only by England’s adopted Bajan, Jofra Archer, defying the rules to go home after a Test match — has proved its attractions already in two well fought Tests between England and the West Indies.
International sports like soccer, Formula 1, golf and cricket have shown a safe way forward out of a maze of restrictions imposed by health and safety precautions against the virus. There is no reason to believe IPL cannot impose similar discipline on its participants.
People, who will enjoy their regular entertainment in the “new normal” may cherish the thought that sport spells hope at a difficult time for mankind, hit by the coronavirus in 188 countries.