1st T20 held amid Delhi’s air pollution

NEW DELHI Amid the severe pollution in Delhi that plummeted to hazardous level, the first T20 between Bangladesh and India was held at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday.

Post-Diwali, Delhi welcomed Bangladesh and India with the most unusual concerns ahead of the series-opening T20 match as burning eyes along with sore throats and heavy breathing as well as all that all-pervading smog seemed to permanent fixture in the Indian capital.

The BCCI had previously made it clear that the match would go ahead as scheduled on November 3 even though the air quality issue was brought up by environmentalists.

The game is indeed on despite the schools have been shut, construction work stalled, and athletic activity advised against due to the air pollution.

But the two teams didn't complain officially and prepared them for the battle. When contacted, Bangladesh officials said that they have no official complain about air quality issue.

We have to consider that it is even for both teams as far as air-pollution and so we cannot make any official complaint in this regard, BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said.

Usually the home board takes such decision and this is entirely their option and we must know that it is very difficult to shift venues overnight, he said.

Since the evening there were rumors inside the premises that the game would be postponed due to insufficient light but that eventually did not happen to give the fans- who arrived at the venue despite facing all those difficulties while coming to the field- a chance to have some entertainment.

The National Capital has been in the grip of a severe pollution crisis since last week, with the air quality index breaching the 'severe' mark of 400 to touch 484 this week.

Calls from Indian cricket fans to abandon the first T20I between India and Bangladesh grew louder after visuals from Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday showed the grounds enveloped in a thick layer of smog.

Air quality deteriorated further in the national capital region as pollution levels rose to 'severe-plus emergency' category. At 12 pm, the air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was at 625, according to the data by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The visibility in morning was very poor but conditions have improved with each passing hours and it was better in the evening that prompted the match referee not to abandon the game.

The attention of the public only changed towards cricket when both skippers went for the toss that was eventually won by visiting Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah Riyad. Mahmudullah opted to field after winning the toss in the series opener and Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar said that he had full support as far as his decision to field is concerned after winning the toss.

Don't think the spinners will get much help from this wicket, reckons Sunil Gavaskar.

Chasing would be an ideal option with the dew factor coming in, he further, he added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)