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. The final call will be taken by the match referee on consultation with the umpires after 6.30 pm.
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).
Delhi: Latest visuals from outside Arun Jaitley Stadium. India will play Bangladesh in the first T20i match, later today. pic.twitter.com/KehNVZ1Zd1
— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2019
Appalled at the lack of visibility, Twitterati expressed concern and asked for the match to be cancelled.
— Maitri Jain (@pull_playlist) November 3, 2019
— Rosy (@rose_k01) November 3, 2019
BCCI planned to shame india on live television ??????????
— ????????? (@anbu2089) November 3, 2019
The match should be cancelled at earliest. This will bring nothing but embarrassment for India. It is impossible to come out in this scenario, let alone playing out. Leave you money mindness behind @BCCI @AmitShah @KirenRijiju @SGanguly99 and think for betterment.
— Siddharth Patni (@aageSeLeftLelo) November 3, 2019
Ganguly failed in his first test as a BCCI President. Had he been sensible, he should have shifted the match venue to any other place in West/South.https://t.co/oZByEXvXma
— Virendra (@viren56002) November 3, 2019
Hoping to settle some dust, the groundstaff splashed water from tankers around the stadium on Sunday as the Delhi and District Cricket Association official said that the match referee will decide on whether it should be cancelled or not. “The visibility in morning was very very poor. But conditions have improved now and hopefully it will be better in the evening. Now the match referee will decide. We are carrying on with our preparations,” a DDCA official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
On the eve of the match, Rohit, who is filling the captain’s position in the absence of Virat Kohli, was asked for a comment on state of Delhi pollution but the Mumbai cricketer, known for his witty sense of humour during press conferences, said, “Masala chahiye, lekin dunga nai (you want gossip but I won’t give)”.
On Saturday, Bangladesh players were seen wearing face masks in training for the first of the three T20 matches against hosts India.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government ordered that all schools in the city remain shut till November 5 and distributed 50 lakh masks to students. Dangerously high levels of PM 2.5, which have exceeded 400 micrograms per cubic meter in the city in recent days, can lead to a host of deadly cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.