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India vs Bangladesh | First T20I to be Played in New Delhi Despite Pollution Concerns, Confirm BCCI

When asked by ANI whether the T20I will be played in the national capital, Ganguly said, “Yes it will.”

Cricketnext Staff |October 31, 2019, 12:06 PM IST
India vs Bangladesh | First T20I to be Played in New Delhi Despite Pollution Concerns, Confirm BCCI

Even as the furore around the first T20I between India and Bangladesh that is scheduled to be played in New Delhi continues to pick up pace, the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that the match will go on as scheduled.

When asked by ANI whether the T20I will be played in the national capital, Ganguly said, “Yes it will.”

While the air quality continues to be a cause of great concern, as it slipped to ‘severe’ category in several parts of the city, Bangladesh are expected to hold their first training session at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday  afternoon, as has been confirmed by the DDCA.

Earlier, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir, now a BJP MP from Delhi, said that the people of Delhi should be more concerned about the pollution instead of matters related to hosting a cricket match.

"It (pollution) is a far serious issue than having a game of cricket or any other sports matches in Delhi. I think people living in Delhi should be more concerned about the pollution levels rather than the cricket match that happens," Gambhir said.

"Not only athletes, it's also for the common man of Delhi as well. A match is a very small thing, I think we can say whether we want to shift the match or not," he added.

"That is a very small thing, ultimately it’s the entire Delhi which is suffering, from kids to old age people as well, so it's our responsibility. I got to know that pollution is still better but a lot of credit goes to the people of Delhi but hard work still needs to made by Delhites," the cricketer-turned-politician said.

"I am not really bothered whether the match will happen or not. I hope it happens and it should happen, but again it's the thing which is throughout the year that Delhi people face. It is far more concerning then match," he added.

Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri, from Delhi himself, also voiced his concerns and said, "We feel irritation in our eyes. I hope it is rectified as soon as possible. I am from Delhi but I rarely come here. I know some of the foreign players do wear masks. It is difficult to keep oneself fit in Delhi because the pollution is more here than in other states. It is not nice."

Environmentalists had also written to Ganguly asking him to think about a change of venue so that the players would not be exposed to the hazardous air during the game.

"On the 3rd of November India is scheduled to play against Bangladesh in a T20 match at Feroz Shah Kotla at a time when pollution levels are expected to be between severe to hazardous," activists Jyoti Pande and Ravina Raj Kohli, who work for 'Care For Air' and 'My Right To Breathe', wrote in the open letter.

"In the light of extreme pollution in Delhi, we would like to request you to consider shifting the venue for the first T20 outside of Delhi," they wrote.

"Making our cricketers play a physically demanding sport for 3-4 hours in Delhi's toxic air will end up doing more damage to our cricket team's health in the long run.

"We would also like to request you to consider setting up of responsible sports protocols which take into consideration the AQI of venues and cities while scheduling cricket matches be it domestic or international," they added.

In 2017, pollution and poor air quality forced players to wear protective masks during a Test between India and Sri Lanka, while Suranga Lakmal even vomited on the field.

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