4 November 2023, Mumbai: The extreme pollution levels in Delhi have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the upcoming World Cup clash. On a fateful Friday, Bangladesh’s cricket team was compelled to cancel their practice session due to the alarming air pollution. The Bangladesh team, having already been eliminated from the tournament, arrived in Delhi following a disheartening defeat against Pakistan in Kolkata. Their first training session, scheduled for that evening, was called off by the team management in light of the soaring pollution levels. This decision was influenced by the severe plus category of air quality that Delhi had plummeted into on that very day.
Concerns Surrounding Player Health
Bangladesh’s team director, Khaled Mahmud, shared insights into the critical decision to forego their training session. The deteriorating air quality posed significant risks to the well-being of the players. Many of them had ventured outside the previous day, and some were already experiencing respiratory issues. As a result, the team chose to prioritize the players’ health and canceled the training session to avoid any potential health problems. Mahmud even expressed doubts about the match taking place as scheduled, given the dire pollution situation in Delhi.
The Uncertain Fate of the Match
The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) in Delhi on that Friday had reached a staggering 468, categorizing it as “severe plus.” This classification necessitates the implementation of emergency measures, including bans on polluting vehicles and construction activities. Mahmud, reflecting on the uncertainty, voiced concerns about whether the match would proceed in such conditions. The unpredictable weather further added to the ambiguity, leaving the team with the challenge of adapting to the situation while keeping the players fit for the crucial games ahead.
Recollection of Sri Lanka’s Struggles in 2017
Interestingly, Sri Lanka, the opposition for the upcoming November 6 clash, had grappled with Delhi’s air pollution in the past. Back in 2017, during a Test match against India, they had resorted to wearing masks to combat the adverse air quality. This historical reference underscores the persisting issue of pollution in Delhi, raising concerns about the upcoming match.
Uncertainty Looms Over the World Cup
Despite the evident health risks and the disruption caused by severe pollution, neither the International Cricket Council (ICC) nor the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had issued any statement regarding a potential schedule change for the impending match in Delhi. The prevailing pollution levels create a substantial threat to the well-being of all individuals, both healthy and those with pre-existing health conditions. Participating in an elite-level, highly competitive cricket match under such circumstances could pose considerable challenges for everyone involved, leaving the fate of the match hanging in the balance.
By Yashika Desai