Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has said the smog situation in Sydney during a recent Sheffield Shield match because of the raging bushfires in the country reminded him of playing in India.

Speaking on the sidelines of Australia’s domestic first-class tournament, Khawaja made the comparison when asked about the challenge of competing in thick smog that has been a problem Down Under.

“When we arrived here this morning it reminded me of playing in India,” Khawaja was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

New South Wales registered a win over visiting Queensland on the final day of the match in Sydney in hazardous conditions.

“It was just hard to breathe, there was a lot of smoke. I was only out there for about five overs but it just got stuck in your throat. I was actually surprised the bowlers were bowling for that long, I thought they would have taken out of it. It was bad but it wasn’t unplayable,” he added.

In India, the northern region experiences heavy smog at the onset of winter due to a combination of factors. This season, the air quality became a topic of debate when India faced Bangladesh in New Delhi a week after Diwali, despite calls from environmentalists to call the game off.

Cricket in the times of pollution in Delhi: Why are those governing the game so reckless?

Spinner Stephen O’Keefe said the current situation in Australia is such that it amounts to smoking 80 cigarettes a day.

“That was far worse than (India),” he said. “It got to the stage we weren’t going to come off for quality, it was more about visibility. It was getting hard to pick the ball up. I’m sure they’ll address it. It’s a bit left-field to have something as severe as this,” he added.

The left-arm spinner praised the opponents for carrying on playing without lodging a complaint.

“The one thing they need to look at is the air-quality policy,” O’Keefe said. “That was shocking. I don’t have kids, but if I did they’d be locked up inside, and if I was at home I wouldn’t be training or playing in it. I tip my hat to Queensland because when you’re behind in the game you’ve got a reason to whinge, but they got on with it.”