The third Test between India and Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi drew attention for reasons other than cricket. The match which ended in a draw due to final day resistance shown by the visitors, was much criticised after Sri Lankan players came on to the field wearing face masks.
The situation turned worse when the day’s play was interrupted after seamers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage fell sick during the match and left the field on the second day.
The pollution concerns came to the notice of Indian Medical Association (IMA), who wrote a letter to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to consider hosting a cricket match on Thursday. IMA, in its letter, had written that the athletes are not able to perform to their best of abilities due to excessive air pollution and hence it should be a criterion that should be considered before allotting matches.
Now, it seems the matter has reached up to International Cricket Council (ICC). Speaking to reporters, an ICC spokesperson has said that the cricket governing body has taken a note of what transpired during the Kotla Test. “The ICC has noted the conditions in which the Delhi Test was played and has already requested the issue is considered by the medical committee for guidance should the situation arise in future. The matter is likely to be discussed in February’s ICC meetings,” the spokesperson told espncricinfo.
IMA, in its letter, had written that the athletes are not able to perform to their best of abilities due to excessive air pollution and hence it should be criteria that should be considered before scheduling matches. “If rain and poor light are taken into consideration when determining suitable playing conditions, we suggest that atmospheric pollution should now also be included in the assessing criteria for a match,” the statement said.
Earlier this week, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary had also addressed the situation and said that the cricketing body will remain careful about pollution levels before allotting an international game in Delhi. “Pollution has been spoken about for years, but not just in one walk of life. These are sensitive matters, and there are agencies and structures that deal with this. Scheduling of matches in Delhi during this time of the year will be considered. We do check the weather before hosting matches in places like Delhi, the NCR, and western UP,” Choudhary had told reporters.