Sri Lanka has opted to call off their practice session at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday due to deteriorating air quality, a decision that echoes the previous day's cancellation by the Bangladesh cricket team for the same reason.
The 1996 World Cup champions, Sri Lanka, had originally planned to conduct their practice session at the Arun Jaitley Stadium from 2 pm to 5 pm on Saturday, as part of their preparations for the upcoming Men's ODI World Cup clash against Bangladesh on Monday. However, the city's smoggy haze, coupled with an Air Quality Index (AQI) surpassing the alarming 400-mark, prompted them to make the prudent choice of abandoning their training session.
Several players in the Sri Lankan team have prior experience playing cricket in the polluted air of New Delhi. This ordeal was endured during a Test match against India at the same venue in December 2017, where players were seen fielding with masks on, and some even required medical attention for respiratory issues, experiencing vomiting in the dressing room.
With two more practice days ahead, concerns for player health and well-being are paramount. Some team members have already developed coughing issues, posing a potential health risk. Khaled Mahmud, the Bangladesh team director, shared his concern, stating, "We want all the players to be in top form for the important game on November 6."
Air pollution and smog in New Delhi and Mumbai have dominated the discourse during this week of the Men's ODI World Cup. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the cancellation of fireworks displays for the remaining matches in both cities due to the pollution concerns. Indian captain Rohit Sharma has also voiced his apprehensions, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the health of future generations.
Sharma stated, “In an ideal world, you don't want a situation like this. But I'm pretty sure the concerned people are taking the necessary steps to avoid this kind of situation. It's not ideal, everyone knows that. But, looking at our future generation, your kids, my kids; it's quite important that they get to live without any fear. So, every time I get to speak outside of cricket, if we are not discussing cricket, I always talk about this, that you know we have to look after our future generation."
(With agency inputs)