The ongoing third Test between India and Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi has garnered much attention for reasons other than cricket. Two days after the match saw an interruption due to concerns raised over air pollution, Sri Lankan players again came to the field wearing face masks. To add to the drama, Sri Lankan pacer Suranga Lakmal and Indian seamer Mohammed Shami both threw up on the field on Tuesday.
In spite of the ongoing debate whether Delhi is a viable city for hosting sports events, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan stressed that the cricketers should focus on the job at hand. “I can’t hide the fact that there is pollution but if you have been assigned a job then you have to go ahead and do it,” Dhawan said.
On being asked whether he feels sympathy for Sri Lankan players, the left-hand batsman said that several players from the home team are not also used to the conditions in New Delhi. “There are a lot of players in our team who are not used to this pollution thing in Delhi as they come from other states. But if you have been assigned a job (to play), you can’t let anything come on its way. That’s my thinking because not everyone in our team is from Delhi. The situation is same for them also,” he said.
Dhawan further stressed that the situation would have been different if the match was not organised in winters. “Look, if you are playing in Delhi during some other time, the pollution won’t affect you as much as it is affecting now. I would never say that there is no pollution in Delhi. Of course, there is pollution. During winters, there is a lot of smog… Since this is the time of crop harvesting in some of the states, the pollution is a wee bit more during this time of the year,” the 32-year old said.
Speaking on Shami, who left the pitch midway on Tuesday after getting sick, the left-hand batsman said the seamer will return to action on Wednesday. “As far as Shami is concerned, he is fine and you will see him in action tomorrow,” Dhawan said.
The batsman also praised Shami and Ishant Sharma for their “mindset” and said the two performed well as compared to Lahiru Gamage and Lakmal who both struggled due to conditions. “Both Ishant and Shami bowled at a good pace because those of us standing in the slip cordon can feel that pace. Hats off to them. This also indicates their mindset and fighting abilities. They know that there isn’t much help from the wicket. It’s flat, but they have bowled with a lot of pace, it’s good for us,” the Delhi boy said.
Dhawan played a good knock of 67 runs in the second innings and helped India in setting a huge target of 410 runs to Sri Lanka.