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Cricketer Anjum Chopra on the impact of COVID-19

Cricketer Anjum Chopra on the impact of COVID-19
May 17
13:05 2020

By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi, May 17 : Proud recipient of the the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri, former Indian cricketer Anjum Chopra, believes that the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic is far greater than what meets the eye; and even for cricket, the rebuilding is going to be gradual.

“As a nation, and as the world rather, I think the impact is massive and it’s going to be far greater than probably what we imagine or what we want to believe. I think we all want to believe that the day the lockdown finishes in our country and subsequently in other nations we are back to normalcy. But it’s going to be far from over and far from getting to normalcy. Cricket, will also take the kind of time as others,” said the recipient of India’s sports and civilian honour.

“But again, there’s another opportunity; once this finishes, I think then it would be much easier to assess. From damage mode, we’d come to damage control mode and then rebuilding and revival,” Chopra told IANSlife over phone.

Sheltering at her home in the national capital, Chopra reflects that the popularity of women’s cricket in India has only increased over the years. Female cricket players are also making more monetarily when compared to the decades gone by. Notably, the sports veteran took to cricket at the young age of nine, and made her ODI debut in 1995.

“Whenever we have assessed the growth, I think it’s always been on the upscale and upswing. Ever since then I’ve been associated with the game, which has nearly been three decades, the game has always been improving, never been on a downslide. The awareness levels of the women’s game have most definitely risen. There is a marked improvement and it’s not only my belief. The numbers that ICC has released – in terms of the number of impressions that they received, people watching the world cup final online or on television – show it has been on an upswing. The numbers of 2020 World Cup held in Australia were much higher than the last T20 World Cup in West Indies in 2018,” she said.

“When my team was playing, you started getting like a lakh rupees for an entire international tour. But the players have contracts now, the highest slab being 50 lakhs. It’s been a 180 degree shift. That has come a long way because of the consistent performances and awareness. It has increased and it will increase,” she adds.

Chopra also firmly believes that it’s fortunate we live in a country where people know what cricket is, and that will result in women’s cricket growing with time.

“People follow the game. We are not living in a country where cricket is just a sport or just a recreational game or it’s one of the games. I think we live in a country where cricket is the most followed sport. It’s a religion. At least people love the game. So for us as players, more than half the job is done.”

Finally, how is the sportsperson spending her time in lockdown?

“Doing my regular exercises, and something new as well. I’ve shifted over to more yoga and less running, but mixing them up. I’m also contributing in the daily chores since we have limited staff. Getting everything done, getting groceries takes half the day and the other half I have my own office work and pending jobs that couldn’t happen since I was travelling for work. I’m catching up on all that,” the player-turned commentator concluded.


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