Caught in the slips

Just days after vowing to keep Indian Premier League matches going, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend the tournament. Several players and staff, as news emerged on Tuesday, had tested positive for covid.

The BCCI’s earlier decision to let the games go on was based on the premise that players were safe playing in a so-called bio-bubble. Since so few infections had been reported from the field back then, many onlookers felt that the matches could offer millions of us some relief from the deluge of morbid news from pandemic-stricken parts of the country. But now that cricketer safety looks far less assured, its dangers can easily be judged to outweigh its benefits. Suspending the season, therefore, was the right call to take. If cricket calendars allow it, then perhaps the show can resume once the situation is back under control. Right now, there are other concerns. A few foreign participants seem stuck in India, with Australia having slammed its gates shut on its own citizens who happen to be here. The BCCI has pledged to do all it can to ensure their safe return. But for that, Canberra must rethink the rigidity of its stance.

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