New Delhi: It was “distasteful” and “unpleasant” watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) taking place amid a raging second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, said former England captain Nasser Hussain.
“It has been unedifying at times watching this tournament when people are dying just up the road from there (the venues). I won’t criticise the players, but it had to be called off,” Hussain wrote in the Daily Mail.
The IPL was called off on Tuesday after several players and members of staff in teams returned positive COVID-19 results in Ahmedabad and New Delhi. Hussain said that the tournament should have been held in the United Arab Emirates, like it was last year.
“The mistake was made in having the tournament in India in the first place. Six months ago they held an IPL in the United Arab Emirates and it went brilliantly. COVID-19 rates were low and no bubbles were compromised. They could have returned there,” he said.
“Yes, it is easy to say that with hindsight. And India clearly did feel they were through the worst of the virus when they decided to stage this year’s competition.”
Hussain said that the players would have been aware of what was going on in the country and there was no choice but to call of the tournament after the positive cases.
“There was no option other than to call off the Indian Premier League. Not after the bio-secure bubbles had been breached in so many places. Enough was enough. This has become far bigger than a game of cricket,” he said.
“The players are not stupid nor insensitive. They would have been fully aware of what has been going on in India. They would have seen on their TVs people pleading for hospital beds and oxygen. They would have seen unused ambulances waiting outside cricket grounds and wondered whether it was right for them to carry on playing. And they would have been uncomfortable,” said Hussain.