Monty's Spin

Nations on the back foot as COVID-19 gathers pace

Monty Panesar Tuesday 17th March 2020 15:07 EDT

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has now engulfed all corners of the world and stopped every sporting tournament. Should we stop all international games and club cricket this season until the virus is under control? I believe we could start club cricket in June when the warm weather, it is believed, might mitigate the deadly effect of the virus. 

The IPL has been postponed until 15th April. It is surprising to know that as of now the Tokyo Summer Olympics will go ahead in July with the IOC ruling out staging the games behind closed doors. The premier league has been postponed until the first week in April amid suggestions to postpone the premier league to next year. 

My heart goes out to local restaurants and pubs who are going out of business as people are being advised not to visit them. The absence of live sports could be another reason for sports fans to abandon pubs. This just shows the significance of sport to our community. The economy has begun to buckle under the weight of the pandemic and airlines have taken a big hit. All this will take a heavy toll on sport across the world. No wonder Euro 2020 has been postponed until 2021 and governing bodies like the UEFA and BCCI have taken strong measures to postpone or cancel events. I feel the IPL will get postponed until next year unless the warm weather gives a helping hand in controlling the spread of the virus. All horse racing in Great Britain will be suspended until end of April.

At the time of writing this piece there were reports that England cricketer Alex Hales is self-isolating at home after developing symptoms of COVID-19 after returning from Pakistan. Sadly for Pakistan fans, the PSL's semi-finals and finals have been postponed indefinitely.

At a time of great emergency it is important that we pay close attention to the government and healthcare bodies, and follow their advise to a tee in order to ensure that each one of us plays a role in keeping down the damage the coronavirus can cause. Reckless social behaviour, casual bravado and spreading rumours on social media in the face of an enemy whose nature is little-known is self-defeating. Self-isolate if necessary and make sure you clean your hands for 20 minutes. I am saddened by news of people needlessly hoarding household items and traders profiteering through unfair pricing. That is a terrible shame and goes against the very ethos of our nation. This nation has withstood terrible tragedies in the past and what we now need is the 'Dunkirk Spirit'.  

While more and more people work from home and spend less time outdoors it is time to reflect on the positives of living in the UK and the many privileges our country provides. As published in the Indian press, for former India greats Kapil Dev and Laxman, this is a “time to spend with family”. I couldn't agree more.


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