Covid-19 has taken a sizeable damage on sports, from the cancellation of Wimbledon to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.
Cricket’s marquee event, the Indian Premier League, gets under way this week after a five-month delay. Just not in India. A bit more than 1,620 miles away in the United Arab Emirates, to be precise.
While this might seem like a radical step akin to moving Major League Baseball to Costa Rica for a season the shift makes a lot of sense. India locked down its economy, but failed to stem the coronavirus. The country now has the second-highest number of cases, overtaking Brazil.
Packing stadiums in the cricket mad nation of 1.3 billion was a nonstarter. But to deprive them of the opportunity to stream their favourite stars would have piled cruelty on tragedy. Cricket is as much a religion as a pastime.