Sports, Cricket

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka cancel training session for air pollution in Delhi

Published : 04 Nov 2023 07:23 PM

Like Bangladesh did on Friday, Sri Lanka also cancelled their training session in Delhi on Saturday afternoon following advice from team doctors, owing to severe air pollution in the city. The two teams are scheduled to play their World Cup league match in Delhi on Monday.

As the air quality index (AQI) rose above 400, an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo that the situation was being monitored. "The ICC and our hosts the BCCI take the well-being of all participants seriously and are monitoring the air quality in Delhi," they said. "We are taking expert advice to assess the situation."

ESPNcricinfo understands that come match day on Monday, the match officials will treat the air pollution just as they would the weather, in deciding whether conditions are fit for play or not.

The Indian government agency's Air Quality Tracking Warning system said the AQI was likely to be in the severe category on Saturday and remain so until Tuesday, November 7. Bangladesh have a training session scheduled at 6pm on Saturday, after choosing not to train on Friday because of the air pollution in Delhi.

"Due to worsening conditions, we didn't take the chance," Bangladesh's team director Khaled Mahmud had said. "We have two more training days. Some of us developed coughing, so there's a risk factor. We don't want to get sick.

 We don't know if things will improve, but we have training tomorrow. We want all the players to be fit for the important game coming up on November 6."

An air emergency was declared in Delhi on Thursday, as the air quality index (AQI) rose above 400 in several places in the city, forcing the government to close schools for two days and impose restrictions on construction and vehicle traffic.

Several of the players in Sri Lanka's squad have already experienced playing cricket in polluted Delhi air, when they played a Test at this venue in late 2017. On that occasion, several players had come off the field to vomit in the dressing room, while others received on-field medical attention for respiratory problems. At least five Sri Lanka fielders had also come out to field in masks.

Earlier this week, ahead of India's World Cup match against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma had expressed concern over the worsening air quality in Mumbai, and elsewhere in the country, saying it is important to ensure that future generations can live "without any fear" in India. On the same day, the BCCI said it would not allow any fireworks displays for the remaining games in Mumbai and Delhi because of the air-quality issue.