Would players be wearing black bands at WTC Final between India and New Zealand?
India will take on New Zealand in the World Test Championship final next month. Will our players sport back bands to mourn the loss of lives in COVID?
The attention of the entire cricketing world will be on India and New Zealand next month when they take on each other in the summit clash of the World Test Championship (WTC) from June 18 to 22 at the Lord's Cricket Ground in England.
Both these formidable teams will enter the WTC final after some stupendous performances in Test cricket in recent times. While the Black Caps have won each of the last 6 Test matches that they have played, the Indian side has won 4 out of the last 5 Test matches that they have played too.
Both India and New Zealand will be led by two men who are the legends of the modern era. While Kane Williamson is the backbone of the New Zealand batting lineup and has scored 7115 runs in Test cricket at an average of 54.31, including 24 centuries, Virat Kohli has plundered 7,490 runs in the white flannels at an average of 52.38, including 27 centuries.
A tantalising battle awaits us in a month. But will the stage be also used as a platform for the players to show their condolence towards the people who have died battling COVID-19 in India? Will players be seen sporting black bands like the way they do on any other occasions of mourning?
India has seen a major spike in COVID-19 cases with the country's death toll officially rising to 270,284 on Sunday. The second wave has hit India hard, crumbling the health system. We have been witnessing people battling for oxygen and hospital beds. The picture turned grimmer when corpses of COVID patients started floating on the banks of river in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. There are projections that the situation could turn even worse in the coming days with a suspected third wave looming large.
The black armbands are worn to mark tragic occasions, these can be historic anniversaries like Hillsborough or the Munich air crash disaster. Traditionally a black armband is a sign of mourning. Often, sports events may also hold a minute's silence to mark an occasion. The black armbands are normally worn on a player's right arm. Earlier, England players cricketers, who were in India for a four-match Test series, wore black armbands while they played the test match in Chennai as a mark of respect to the inspirational war veteran and fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died aged 100 that week after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
When the IPL 2021 was happening in India in the backdrop of the tragic second wave of the COVID, the players and organisers seemed oblivious to all the happenings. IPL ecosystem lapsed into and its obvious disconnect from what is transpiring in our streets and hospitals. When the first match unfolded in Delhi, the players could at least sported black arm-bands as a symbol of solidarity with the city's denizens but that didn't happen. With the world taking notice of the Indian scenario, will our cricketing stars share their solidarity on the field at one of the biggest cricketing stages of the world next month?