Dealing with Bangladesh might not be a big deal for the Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team. But spending 40 overs in the middle at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the Capital that is faced with a “public health emergency” is no mean challenge.
Stand-in Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, leading the side in three T20 Internationals, has though confirmed that the team ready to play Sunday’s T20 International against Bangladesh despite growing concerns about severe air pollution in the National Capital Region.
While the Bangladeshi players wore anti-pollution masks during the fielding sessions, there was no such concerns for the Indian team as it practiced at the Kotla ground.
Rohit was hurt during the practice session with one of the deliveries striking him hard on a high, but the skipper is also fit for the challenge.
“The BCCI president called the team to check on its well-being. Sourav Ganguly had a discussion with stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma on how the team is coping up with the situation. The Indian captain has confirmed that the team was fine and had a full outdoor training session without any issue,” said an anonymous BCCI source.
The authorities too have given a go-ahead for the match. But there are some suggestions. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has advised the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) to “wash trees inside the Feroz Shah Kotla premises” and “track polluting items within its 2 km radius” ahead of the game.
This was after BCCI and DDCA officials had a meeting with the officials of CPCB, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PWD and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to review the situation and it was decided that match will go on as per schedule.
“DDCA has been advised to wash the trees inside the (Kotla) stadium so that the dust doesn’t flow. DDCA was also asked to survey the area of about two kilometers around the stadium and if any polluting items such as construction material, burning garbage etc. is found, it is to be reported to CPCB. They will ensure immediate action,” the official added.
Delhi recorded its worst air quality of the season on Friday as the pollution level touched the “severe plus” category, prompting authorities to shut schools till November 5, ban all construction activities and declare a “public health emergency”.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad, Greater Noida and the Capital itself are faced with AQI levels multiple times higher the permissible limits.
The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared the “public health emergency”, following which the Delhi government decided to shut all schools. The EPCA has also banned all construction activities in Delhi-NCR till November 5.