Delhi’s pollution level has gone from bad to worse and with the increase in the level of smog on Sunday, there may, after all, be uncertainties regarding the first T20I game between India and Bangladesh to be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
Light spells of rain on Saturday evening and early Sunday morning has made situation worse, resulting in lack of visibility. In such a scenario, the DDCA officials and groundsmen are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping for the smog to settle down by the time the game approaches its start time – 7:00 PM IST.
Images surfaced of the groundstaff spraying water on the roads, pavements and trees outside the Arun Jaitley Stadium to curb the rising level of pollution, but it may not be enough to grab a complete hold of the situations.
“Contrary to the belief that showers on Saturday would have helped settle things down, today is the worst of the lot. The eyes are hurting and visibility is at an all-time low. Hopefully the sun does come out and the smog settles else it will be very difficult to get the match going. We are helpless in such a scenario and can only pray that the match happens,” a senior DDCA official told IANS.
Despite the pollution level reaching hazardous category, India captain Rohit Sharma informed BCCI president Sourav Ganguly that his players are ready to play in the capital. Some Bangladesh players were seen undergoing drills with pollution masks on but asserted it wasn’t a severe concern. Vikram Rathour, India’s batting coach, who has played plenty of cricket in norther India said: “I don’t think you even notice it.”
With so much investment already made on the match, it will take a brave call to call it off this close to start time. However, provided the call is in fact taken, it will depend on what the umpires, match referees and the groundsmen decide.
“The call has to be taken by the match referee and he will consult the umpires. They can also check with the groundstaff to decide on the fate of the match if the condition stays the way it is. But then again, you never know with the weather and things could change in the evening. But if you go by the current scenario, things are a little grim to be honest,” the source added.
India trained fully on Friday and Saturday and showed no hesitation in backing down from the existing air quality, and the source confirmed that a discussion between Rohit and Ganguly did actually take place where India’s stand-in captain gave the BCCI chief his assurance of conditions.
“The President checked with Rohit and the team is comfortable and there is no problem they had after a full-on training session on Friday. In fact, there is an optional training even on the eve of the game. The skipper has given the thumbs up to the BCCI chief,” he said.