MUMBAI: On a day when the COVID crisis in India worsened with 3,000 deaths officially recorded on Wednesday amid a dreadful surge and with hospitals overwhelmed, the Indian Premier League bandwagon rolled into New Delhi, currently the city that is suffering the worst in the country from the ravages of the pandemic.
Thursday will have the distinction of having a double-header in Delhi and Ahmedabad, arguably the city that has been hit the second hardest by Covid amomng the six venues selected to host the IPL's 14th edition.
Which begs the question. Why are vital resources being sequestered for the bio-bubbled IPL in two cities that have seen the complete collapse of healthcare systems and have singularly failed to manage the pandemic?
The IPL will continue as scheduled, a senior Indian cricket board official told Reuters on Wednesday.
"It's probably more (emphasis ours) important now to hold IPL, when there is so much negativity around," a BCCI official told The Guardian.
"We should not underestimate the power of sport to spread positivity. At least fans are absorbed in it at home. Otherwise many of them will step out without masks. The league generates considerable money for the economy. It has to be seen from that context, too. How does stopping IPL help?'
Stopping the IPL might not help, but changing the venues certainly might. Is that logistically possible? Desperate times call for desperate measures. And if there is one cricket body that has the financial wherewithal to "walk the talk", it most certainly is the BCCI.
For the record, India's death toll surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, and at least 300,000 people a day have tested positive for the virus over the last week as a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world's second-most populous nation.
Again for the record, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata are the six host venues for this year's IPL.
A comment posted by political commentator Faye D'Souze on her Twitter timeline is telling: "When we were children our parents told us not to play in the street when there was a funeral in the neighbourhood out of respect for the dead and the mourning.
"The IPL plays in Delhi today (Wednesday)."