While there were concerns surrounding India’s T20I vs Bangladesh in New Delhi owing to the poor air quality prevailing in northwest India recently, the 2nd ODI between Afghanistan and West Indies in Lucknow on Saturday saw players donning masks on the field.
During the second ODI at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow, several Windies cricketers were seen wearing masks while fielding. As per reports, pollution was not the menace this time. The visitors were forced to wear the additional gear due to the number of moths that had been attracted by the flashlights around the playing area.
Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard and Sheldon Cottrell were among the fielders seen wearing masks during the Afghanistan innings in the evening.
“I’ve never played with so many flies around. Health is very important, so something’s got to be done about that,” Pollard said at the presentation ceremony after the match.
The air quality is Lucknow has improved in the post-Diwali period, but the Air Quality Index (AQI) on Saturday read 200, which falls in the unhealthy category.
After inviting Windies to bat first, Afghanistan started off on a slow note as the opening pair of Shai Hope and Elvin Lewis added 98 runs for the first wicket. However, a collapse in the middle saw the Rashid Khan-led unit bounce back in the contest until Windies youngster Pooran took charge of the proceedings.
The 24-year-old came to the middle while Windies were struggling at 137/3 in the 35th over. The wickets kept tumbling at the other end but Pooran held the fort as he completed his half-century in 38 balls to keep his team alive in the contest.
Pooran was removed on 67 off 50 balls by Naveen-ul-Haq but his innings helped the visitors post a challenging 247/9 on the board. Afghanistan were all out for 200. West Indies won the match by 47 runs to get their first ODI series win since 2014.