Delhi’s poor air quality took centre-stage on the opening day of the 2018 Ranji Trophy season. Mumbai batsman Siddhesh Lad drew focus as he batted wearing a mask over his mouth on day one of his side’s Ranji game Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium in the capital.

A day prior to the match, Mumbai coach Vinayak Samant had informed that fast bowler Tushar Deshpande had been laid low and was vomiting since landing in Delhi for the encounter.

“Tushar is not feeling well. He has been vomiting and complaining of headache and fever since he arrived in Delhi. But he will be playing tomorrow’s game,” Samant was quoted as saying.

Several Mumbai players, seated in the dressing room, were also spotted wearing masks.

The air quality of Delhi in the months of November and December has been an issue for quite some time.

In 2016, a Ranji Trophy match between Bengal and Gujarat at the Feroz Shah Kotla was cancelled due to smog. In 2017, the Sri Lankan players were seen wearing masks, complaining of breathing problems and dizziness while fielding due to air quality index being “severe”.

BCCI had to cancel a couple of Ranji games in Delhi due to conditions considered too ‘unhealthy to play’. Fifa too had ruled out Delhi as a venue for the knockout phase of the U-17 World Cup for the same reason.