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'Reminded of Playing in India' - Smog Engulfs Sheffield Match in Sydney

There were unusual scenes at the Sydney Cricket Ground when the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Queensland carried on despite a thick blanket of smog engulfing the stadium.

Cricketnext Staff |December 10, 2019, 12:55 PM IST
'Reminded of Playing in India' - Smog Engulfs Sheffield Match in Sydney

There were unusual scenes at the Sydney Cricket Ground when the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Queensland carried on despite a thick blanket of smog engulfing the stadium.

Players from both sides struggled with vision and breathing, with medical staff regularly tending to them in the middle. Play went on, with New South Wales winning by nine wickets.

NSW spinner Steve O'Keefe compared the conditions to 'smoking 80 cigarettes a day', while Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja was reminded of playing in India.

"The one thing they need to look at is the air-quality policy," O'Keefe said after the game. "That was shocking. I don't have kids, but if I did they'd be locked up inside, and if I was at home I wouldn't be training or playing in it.

"I tip my hat to Queensland because when you're behind in the game you've got a reason to whinge, but they got on with it.

"That air quality was shocking. The doctor was all over it and speaking to us about it, and the fact the game wasn't going to go all day was considered, but in the future they need to look at it because it's not healthy - it's toxic.

"For someone like me who smokes 40 a day, it's now smoking 80 cigarettes a day," he quipped. "That was far worse than (India). It got to the stage we weren't going to come off for quality, it was more about visibility. It was getting hard to pick the ball up. I'm sure they'll address it. It's a bit left field to have something as severe as this."

Khawaja made 54 in the second innings, lasting only five overs on the day before being dismissed.

"When we arrived here this morning it reminded me of playing in India," he said. "It was just hard to breathe, there was a lot of smoke. I was only out there for about five overs but it just got stuck in your throat. I was actually surprised the bowlers were bowling for that long, I thought they would have taken out of it. It was bad but it wasn't unplayable."

Recently, India and Bangladesh played a Twenty20 International at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi under similar conditions.

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