Will severe levels of pollution in Delhi impact World Cup 2023? Here's what we know so far
The extreme levels of pollution forced a cancellation of Bangladesh team's practice session in Delhi on Friday.
Extreme air pollution in the national capital has forced the Bangladesh cricket team to cancel its training session ahead of the World Cup clash against Sri Lanka on November 6. The team, already eliminated from the tournament, arrived in Delhi following a defeat against Pakistan in Kolkata. They were supposed to have their first training session on Friday evening but the team management decided against it considering the high pollution levels. Delhi's air quality had deteriorated to the "severe plus" category on that day.
Bangladesh's team director Khaled Mahmud said that the team management decided against letting the players take the field for training sessions due to the “risk factors” involved with rising pollution levels in the city.
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"Today we had a training session but the condition got bad from yesterday so we didn't take the chance because we still have two more days for training.
"Many( cricketers) went out yesterday and now they are having some kind of coughing so there is a risk factor involved and so we cancelled the training so that they don't get unwell," said Mahmud at the team hotel, as quoted by PTI.
In fact, Mahmud even cast doubts over the possibility of match going ahead as scheduled; On Friday, Delhi's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) reached 468, placing it in the "severe plus" category. This is the stage at which all emergency measures, including a ban on polluting trucks, commercial four-wheelers, and all types of construction, are mandated in Delhi-NCR.
"We don't know what the decision will be (whether we will have to play here or not in the present condition) and whether the weather will get better or not and if it gets better certainly it is good for us and if that is not the case (and still we have to play) we still have to adapt to it and have to train tomorrow," said Mahmud.
"We still have two more days in our hand so we want the boys to be fully fit because these two games are very important for us," he added, referring to the Champions Trophy qualification scenario.
Incidentally, Sri Lanka – Bangladesh's opponents for the clash on November 6 – had to resort to wearing masks to combat air pollution in Delhi back in 2017 during a Test against India.
Will the Delhi pollution have an impact on World Cup?
There has been no statement from the ICC or the BCCI regarding a potential schedule change for the upcoming match in Delhi. However, given the existing pollution levels, there is a significant threat to the health of even those healthy, not to mention individuals with pre-existing health conditions. In such circumstances, participating in a highly competitive cricket match at the elite level could pose challenges for all parties involved.
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