CSK bowler Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh Image Credit: PTI

Kolkata: Be it closed-door matches or the currently postponed Indian Premier League (IPL), cricket should be the farthest thing from everyone’s minds amid the COVID-19 global crisis, said India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has officially suspended that the 13th edition of the IPL until further notice.

Like most major sports across the globe, elite cricket is also on lockdown with suggestions of having games without spectators being mooted by the likes of Eoin Morgan, England’s World Cup-winning captain, once restrictions are lifted.

Recently, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar proposed an India-Pakistan series as part of COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.

“See cricket is the last thing on my mind at the moment. I am not even thinking about it,” Harbhajan told IANS in an exclusive chat.

“There are other way to raise funds. It is not necessary to hold a cricket match. I don’t think anyone should think about sports and cricket at this hour. These are small things. Lives are at stake ... understand that,” said the 39-year old off-spinner who is helping feed 5,000 under-privileged families in his native Jalandhar.

“Yes cricket has given us everything. Whatever I am today is because of cricket. But this is not the time to discuss cricket. I would like to talk about how we can help people,” said India’s third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

There are doubts over whether the T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia in October this year, would take place. Harbhajan said, keeping the situation in mind, a World Cup or an IPL can wait for a year.

“One IPL, one World Cup ... what difference will it make if it does not happen this year? But if these things go on, our lives will be finished.

“I know I am not in my 20s anymore but even if I was ... I would have said the same thing,” said the 103-Test veteran who has also played 236 ODIs and 28 T20s in a career spanning almost two decades.

“We have been taking everything for granted. But this (COVID-19) has taught us to be thankful for all small things. We also used to take our health for granted. What are you going to do with your money, car, house if you are not healthy. We have to respect that.”