India has been battling a severe second wave of Coronavirus over the last month. While the first wave of the pandemic also caused a lot of damage, India somehow managed to tide through the tough times. While the migrant labourers and middle-class suffered, the only consolation was the infection rate wasn’t as high. However, the comeback of the disease has thrown the country into a deep mire. A record three lakh infections are being recorded per day (official figures) while the death toll is in thousands. Meanwhile, what have our beloved cricketers done amid the pandemic? Not a lot when it comes to questioning the authorities!
In individual capacities, some may have made contributions in cash or kind. But is that enough? When the Rihanna controversy broke out, a number of our big cricketing superstars didn’t take long to tweet their support for the current government at the centre. Most toed the government’s line of “it is India’s internal matter”, asking outside celebrities to stay out. Why didn’t they do the same and ask Pat Cummins to take back his generous donation for Indian hospitals to buy supplies? Why didn’t they come forward and reveal details of their own donations. It is sad that a foreign player has to take the lead in India’s fight against pandemic as far as cricket is concerned.
Messages to the public, no questions to government
If we look at the social media feed of most cricketers, they are filled with messages of the superstars requesting people to stay indoors, wear masks and maintain social distancing. Yes, all of this is absolutely essential. The public has to take some part of the blame for the situation India find itself in. But are they alone responsible for the situation? Definitely not. It is a clear case of political parties majorly failing the country.
We have all seen horrific scenes of people dying due to lack of oxygen and bodies being lined up outside crematoriums. It is an obvious case of failure on the part of the entire system. Why were the cricketers silent when massive political rallies were being held in the midst of Corona outburst or when a major gathering saw lakhs converge for a popular ritual? Everything was out in the open, yet our cricketers were silent. They have been for the past few years, except, of course, when they have had to speak favourably for a particular cause.
Not the first time cricketers have been silent
In most countries, sportspersons have been very vocal about their views on issues that are close to their heart. It might have been the case in India till a few years back, but that certainly hasn’t been the same recently. Our cricketers have hardly ever spoken their mind on the issues of national importance – be it farmers protest, demonetisation, GST or, more recently, the deaths due to lockdown. If at all they have ‘raised their voices, it has only been a staged one to support a certain theory.
The difference between Indian and England cricketers was evident when the Moeen Ali controversy broke out. After a controversial author put out a disrespectful tweet on England all-rounder, his teammates took no time in backing Ali and showed their full support. There were numerous messages which clearly stated that they were completely behind the needlessly targeted cricketer.
Contrast this with the Wasim Jaffer controversy in India. Only a couple of big names, those too mostly retired cricketers, spoke out in support of Jaffer. A big name in Indian cricket, who played a lot with Jaffer for Mumbai, claimed that he was completely ignorant about the matter and hence couldn’t comment on it. The same logic, perhaps, applies to COVID-19 as well as far as our beloved cricketers are concerned.