The build-up of the India vs Bangladesh Twenty20 International in Delhi has been marred by alarming levels of smog in the Delhi-NCR region. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
The air quality in Delhi-NCR entered the "severe plus" category" on Friday, propelling the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to declare a public health emergency. The Supreme Court mandated panel also banned the bursting of crackers during the winter season apart from banning the construction activity till November 5. However, the airpocalypse after Diwali celebrations has reached alarming levels and the situation is pretty similar in 2017, when Sri Lanka's players struggled with the pollution and fell ill during the Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla in December.
Despite the pollution, the match will go ahead with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly making it clear that the match will not be cancelled at the last minute but promised practical scheduling in future, hinting that North India venues may not considered for matches post Diwali. Bangladesh players Al Amin Hossain, Abu Hider Rony and team's spin consultant Daniel Vettori were seen wearing masks during their fielding session this morning. Bangladesh batsman Liton Das briefly wore the mask during practice session but later said it was due to a personal health issue and not because of pollution.
Speaking at the press conference, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo stressed that the situation was not ideal but the existing pollution will not kill anybody. "We know the Sri Lankans struggled last time and look there's a bit of pollution in Bangladesh as well, so it's a not a massive shock unlike some other countries. The players have just got on with the game and haven't complained too much about it. It's only three hours so it's going to be easy. There maybe scratchy eyes, sore throat but that's ok. No one is dying. There's no breeze but obviously not perfect weather with the smog. But it same for both teams. Not perfect, not ideal but you can't complaint about and get on with the game," Domingo said.
Bangladesh will be the first team to play in Delhi after the stadium was renamed Arun Jaitley stadium in honour of the former DDCA chief and union minister. After the game in Delhi, Bangladesh will play two matches in Nagpur and Rajkot before the series moves to the two Tests in Indore and Kolkata which will be part of the new World Test Championships. The match in Kolkata will be historic as it will be the first time both India and Bangladesh will be part of the Day-Night Test which will be played with the Pink Ball.