Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly on Thursday said that the first Twenty20 International between India and Bangladesh will go ahead as scheduled in New Delhi despite calls from several quarters to move the match away from the capital citing its diminishing air quality.
“Yes, it will [go ahead as planned],” the former India captain was quoted as saying by ANI.
After Diwali, Delhi’s Air Quality Index had slipped to the ‘severe’ category in several areas.
Earlier, former India opener and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir called for the match, scheduled on November 6, to be moved out of Feroz Shah Kotla.
It is worth noting that in 2017, a few visiting Sri Lankan players fell ill and were seen wearing face masks while fielding during a Test match in Delhi.
“It is a far serious issue than having a game of cricket or any other sports matches happens in Delhi,” Gambhir had said. “For us, I think people living in Delhi should be more concerned about the pollution levels rather than the cricket match that happens. Not only athletes it’s also for the common man of Delhi as well. A match is a very small thing, I think we can say ok whether we want to shift the match or not.”
Environmentalists had also written to Ganguly, urging him to move the match to an alternative venue keeping in mind the plummeting air quality that puts the players and the spectators health at risk.
“In the light of extreme pollution in Delhi, we would like to request you to consider shifting the venue for the first T20 outside of Delhi. Making our cricketers play a physically demanding sport for 3-4 hours in Delhi’s toxic air will end up doing more damage to our cricket team’s health in the long run,” Jyoti Pande of Care For Air and Ravina Raj Kohli of My Right To Breathe said in the letter.
Care For Air and My Right To Breathe are clean air awareness and advocacy non-profit organisations.
“Thousands of innocent spectators at the venue will also be putting themselves at risk in order to watch the match in the prevailing situation,” they said in the letter.
India play three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests during Bangladesh’s first full tour of India.