During the Twenty20 International between India and Bangladesh at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in early November, Delhi was plagued by apocalyptical air quality. The Air Quality Index in the areas near the stadium had almost touched the hazardous, almost apocalyptic level with readings of close to 924 and 950. In order to salvage the situation, there were water cannons employed in the 2 km radius of the stadium and traffic was diverted. With the air quality in hazardous zone, there was a threat to match but the fans still came in the thousands without proper protection.
The match went ahead with the AQI 'improving' to just over 300 towards the night. Even 300 is severe. The decision to play the match in such situations faced severe criticism. However, the fans did not show their concern and their mass attendance only weakened their cause of having clean air. However, Canberra showed the way brilliantly and put fan health and player health as their top priority.
During the Big Bash League clash between Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, the game was abandoned due to dangerous smog. With 2019 registering the second-hottest and driest January to November period for Australia, Canberra recorded a temparture of 43 degrees and the resultant bushfires in and around the capital city spread even to the Manuka Oval.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Big Bash League said, "Play was suspended due to poor visibility and air quality due to smoke. The decision was taken after thorough assessment of conditions at the ground, with player, fan and staff safety the number one priority." Sydney Thunder won the toss and chose to bowl and they struck immediately with Daniel Sams and Jonathan Cook gettint rid of Phillip Salt and Matthew Short. However, Jake Weathherald and Alex Carey steadied the ship with a 60-run stand for the third wicket. However, Sams struck again as he removed Weatherald for 42.
Jonathan Wells joined Carey and the duo inreased the momentum. Wells struck two big sixes off Jonathan Cook but Chris Morris got Sydney Thunder back in the game with two bug wickets of Carey and Rashid Khan. Wells, though, continued to score brilliantly and he struck another big six off Chris Tremain and hit two fours off Sams. Wells notched up his fifty with a scoop off Morris and Adelaide Strikers ended on 161/5.
In response, Sydney Thunder lost Usman Khawaja in the first over but Callum Ferguson started off with two boundaries. Ferguson increased his aggression byt slamming three fours off Wes Agar. After the fourth over was bowled, a thick layer of smog engulfed the stadium and citing the visibility factor, the umpires took the players off.
Speaking to the official broadcasters, the umpires said, "Visibility and air quality a problem, we can smell the smog and it doesn't mean the game is done. Every four minutes from now, we will lose one over. We are aware of the fact that we are four balls away from forcing a result in this game and until we get to that stage where we get that four balls, we shall see and if we're lucky enough to get a restart that'd be really great".
The Air Quality Index in Canberra stated that the smog quality was six times worse than the usual limit and the umpires were having a chat with the groundsmen in the middle. After 45 minutes, the air quality did not improve and the game was abandoned. For Australia, the players and fans health is important. Something which is not the case in India.