The national capital’s worsening air pollution levels could force the Indian cricket team to cancel their two training sessions at the Arun Jaitley Stadium ahead of the series-opening first Twenty20 International against Bangladesh.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) in New Delhi is not showing much signs of improvement. According to a report in IANS on Tuesday, Team India – set to arrive on October 31 – may give their outdoor training session a miss and spend more time at the gym. The hosts have two sessions on November 1 and 2 are from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. But it could turn into optional sessions.
“The match shouldn’t be a major problem as it is a night match, but the issue is the training (set for the mornings) and you could see optional training sessions on both the days if the weather doesn’t improve. This isn’t a fresh season and the players have already been playing so some gym sessions should be enough to get them up and running after the Diwali break,” a Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) official informed.
“And even if you have the senior players coming in on Saturday – eve of the game – it could be just to gauge the playing conditions. But again, all that depends on the weather conditions.
“We have been keeping a check on the weather forecast and while the sun didn’t come out on Tuesday, it is showing sunny on Friday, so in that case, training shouldn’t be a problem. Once the sun comes out, things will hopefully be sorted and in that scenario, we will have full training sessions,” he added.
Another DDCA said that the weather could also force a slight change in training timings on Saturday as the air in the mornings are an issue in these conditions.
“To be honest, it was hurting the eyes a bit today. And while Bangladesh also have a training session for Thursday, I don’t think that will take place. Also, Bangladesh could ask for a slight delay in the training timing for Saturday as they are scheduled to train from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Training in the morning would be an issue and in such a scenario and India’s training could also then be pushed a little deeper,” the official said.
With the alarming dip in the air pollution levels in New Delhi post Diwali, questions were thrown if there would be a change in the venue of the opening T20I of the series between India and Bangladesh on Sunday, but a BCCI functionary confirmed that there would be no change and DDCA in fact started selling tickets for the opening game from Monday.