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Unlock 1 has brought hope for the sporting industry: Boria Majumdar

In an interview with BW Applause and Everything Experiential, Majumdar spoke about the highlights of his new show- Inspiration Series 2, the impact of covid-19 on sports and more.

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Noted Sports Journalist, Academician and Author Boria Majumdar is back with the second season of his popular show “Inspiration Series’. The new series will  have some of the top sporting icons like K.L Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, David Warner, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly among others.

In an interview with BW Applause and Everything Experiential, Majumdar spoke about the highlights of his new show- Inspiration Series 2, the impact of covid-19 on sports and more.


 What was the idea behind the re-launch of the Inspiration Series?

The idea of the new season obviously derives from the first because the first season was such a runaway success. We had the best games, voices analysts and people from across sports. We were joined by cricketers like Virat, Sachin and Sourav. We had a lot of India’s best. From Olympic sports we had Gopi, Sindhu, Sania. We had a huge cross section. It was extremely well received by fans. 


This is a very different world-- the post corona world. What we spoke about in November or December is no longer relevant and has a very different sporting ethos. It has a different understanding of how a sport will be played, consumed, constructed, organised and planned.  So we need to understand from the best-- how they want to resume, what is the new normal as far as sports is concerned and what is the economics of sport. Going forward how will sports look, what is the role of fans and how will it change. Will the stadiums be empty and the other technicalities related to sports.


This series has 12 episodes out of which 8 are on sport and 4 are on entertainment, with some of India’s very best entertainers. These will be done by my colleague Sushant Mehta who is a noted Film Critic and Entertainment Editor at India Today. We will give people India’s best sports and entertainment. 


Among sporting names we have K.L Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, David Warner- all these 3 are IPL Captains and there is a possibility that IPL will happen. So we want to hear from the captains what they feel. On the other hand we have seniors like Sachin Tendulkar who can come up with policies of how cricket can look. He is one of those people who the world of cricket would want to listen to. We have Sourav Ganguly- the game's greatest policy-maker at this point. He is the BCCI President. From the Olympics space we have Leander Paes and Viswanathan Anand.

Yet again, as I told you, it will be a top series with the top names from across Indian sports.

 

What would be the highlights of this new season?

 

For me the highlight of this season will be to chart out a new policy for sports. I am looking at a dialogue between analysts and practitioners, in this case players, to understand the new normal as far as the world of sport is concerned. 

If you are a cricketer or a sporting star or an Olympic star – what is it that the sport has changed to, because this is not the cricket or tennis or badminton that you played in December. That is why I have taken the very best from across sports to understand and give people the essence of the new normal, what we will consume and how we will consume going forward. 

I am very hopeful for sport because I think it will give people positivity. It will help us get rid of this gloom and doom. Ultimately no pandemic has been able to defeat human civilization, and I don’t think Covid can as well. I am sure that we will overcome this pandemic. And while we do so, what is it that we do as far as sport is concerned. That is what I want to understand. 


What has been the impact of covid 19 on sports and how do you see the road ahead for sporting events?

 

This is the first time ever in human memory that sport has come to a complete standstill. There is no live sport on television as a result of Covid. The whole planet had shut down. This is unique, and I think this will never happen again in human civilization. So obviously sport has taken a huge beating. 


One of the things that has come to the fore is to host closed door sporting events without fans. But fans are integral, how to overcome that? Maybe installing a giant screen across the stadiums and connecting it with a technology like Zoom, where fans live digitally can become a solution. And when a cricketer is walking back to the fielding position he can actually see the fans waving at him digitally on zoom from the LED Board which has been installed. Or broadcasters can come up with new techniques for lack of fans in stadiums. 


Innovation and better use of technology is the way forward to try and overcome this problem. Once we have a therapy or vaccine, then obviously sport will emerge stronger and come out in full glory. We have to treat this as an opportunity to use technology and go beyond Covid 19 in the short-term.


Has unlock-1 brought some hope for the sporting industry?


Of course Unlock 1 has brought hope for the sporting industry. If you see, there is every likelihood that IPL will happen. The BCCI has written letters to all the state associations to see that the IPL can happen this year. Sporting stars have already started training. The Indian Hockey Team and the individual Cricketers have started training. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju is on record saying that from August in this country, in certain parts where the virus is under control, sporting tournaments will resume. So things are moving and there is absolutely no debate that Unlock 1 has given hope.


But sport is not  only restricted to India, it is about the other parts of the world as well. For example we have David Warner who can give us a perspective about what the Australian players think about the IPL. He can give a sense as to what the structure is in Australia. Because India is supposed to tour Australia at the end of the year and that is a bi-lateral tour. This is almost certain to happen because in Australia the condition is better and in control. It is not only that Unlock 1 that has given us hope, we have also seen sports from across the world – we have seen La Liga resume, Syria Premiership resume and German Bundesliga being played. That gives me enormous hope as far as the world of sport is considered.


(The first episode of ‘Inspiration Series 2’ will be telecast tonight at 10.30 PM on India Today)

 




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