Rahul Dravid is a delightfully-intelligent person. He is a dexterous cricketer and a conscious human being, which is why his recent statement on the IPL controversy – whirling under dreadful droughts – does not sound too perceptive.
While speaking to a news channel, Dravid had said, “It’s a serious issue and the fact that so many people are dying because of shortage of water is serious but linking it to IPL will trivialise it. How can a drought be as important as cricket? If not having IPL will solve the problem, then we should stop playing cricket.”
His statement came after the Bombay High Court ruled that IPL matches would be shifted out of the drought-hit state of Maharashtra after April 30.
Veteran cricketer Sunil Gavaskar had also echoed a similar sentiment. He said water crisis, which has led to farmers committing suicides, is a serious issue, but should not be mixed with cricket. “What do you think has been happening for the last 9-10 years? It’s always something or the other cropping up before or during the IPL. Whether it’s a soft target or not, yes it is a soft target,” Gavaskar said, according to news reports.
Rising Pune Supergiants skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opined that it is important to seek long-term solutions to the prevailing water crisis in Maharashra. “Whether IPL’s match number 5, 6 or 7 happens or not, I don’t think it makes much of a difference,” Dhoni told the Press Trust of India.
Now that the matches have been shifted from the parched state of Maharashtra to Rajasthan, the former can hope to save 60,000 litres of water per match. It also hopes to save an additional 40,000 litres that are supplied to toilets inside the Wankhede, reports The Times of India.
Let’s say the Indian Premier League is the spendthrift progeny of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. It is all about the glamour and glitz. It is a dazzling annual commemoration of the power of money, and all the Board cares about, is the moolah.
Our celebrated cricketers may defend the format, out of allegiance to the Board, for the love of the game, or because they simply have a different opinion. But the fact is, taking up the issue of drought and fighting for the unnecessary wastage of water does not trivialise it.
A severe water crisis is looming over Maharashtra, and every single drop of water is precious. The fact that thousands of litres of water is being saved per match is a relief in itself. And drought is more important than cricket. People don’t have access to water across several hamlets in Maharashtra and the fact that we are having the IPL is irksome.
IPL is not being targeted. And yes, the fact a few matches are not happening in a drought-hit state, does make a lot of difference.
We must weigh conscience and humanity on the same scale. If the Board could shift the venue from India to South Africa keeping in mind the elections, it could have adjourned this season on philanthropic grounds too.