Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka And Bangladesh Clash In A Smog-Shrouded Delhi
The Lanka-Bangla Cricket World Cup clash got underway Monday afternoon, with Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan winning the toss and electing to field.
Ranked ninth, Bangladesh are playing for pride, while Sri Lanka are little better placed at seventh and will look to hold on to the position to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
Both teams had already cancelled one practice session in the build up to Monday’s group-stage match as air quality remains poor in smog-shrouded Delhi.
Braving Hazardous Air Pollution To Train
Air quality remained the main talking point before the game in New Delhi with the local Air Quality Index (AQI) an alarming 460 on a scale of 500 on Sunday.
An AQI of 0-50 is considered good while anything between 400 and 500 affects healthy people and is considered a danger to those with existing conditions.
On Sunday, Sri Lanka cricketers arrived at training for the game against Bangladesh in face masks, while asthmatic players from either team stayed indoors.
No Strangers To Such A Condition
Both the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi teams are no strangers to air pollution, with the former resorting to masks during a Test series in 2017 and the latter doing the same in a T20 in 2019.
Back then, scores of Sri Lankan players had faced respiratory conditions, while the hazardous conditions even made some vomit in the dressing room.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had made it clear a decision on future of Monday’s clash will be made on game day when officials assess the air quality.
Request To Shift Match To Another Venue
Sri Lanka captain Kusal Mendis has dismissed media reports claiming the 1996 winners had requested the ICC to shift the match to another venue owing to the conditions.
“We didn’t make a request to change … we just asked them what’s the plan,” he told reporters, adding “we will do exactly what the ICC actually tells us to do.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has prohibited the use of fireworks in post-match celebrations after Monday’s clash, the last one in the national capital.