Thanks to the high levels of pollution in Delhi, Monday’s match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, two teams lying in bottom four in World Cup points table, has evoked as much interest as Sunday’s game in Kolkata between India and South Africa, who are among the top two in points table and have already qualified for the semi-finals.
On Saturday, Sri Lanka cancelled their practice just like Bangladesh did on Friday due to air quality, which reached severe and very unhealthy levels.
Bangladesh, however, checked in for practice on Saturday but not without their masks. Many of the Bangladeshi players were seen wearing masks as they entered the ground and it was only while they were on the practice pitches that their masks came off.
There was speculation that the match will either be shifted or postponed by a couple of days when the air quality is expected to improve.
However, it will not happen due to the International Cricket Council (ICC) norms.
The match officials assess the air quality on the day of the game, using ICC guidelines in exactly the same way as other weather matters which means that the match will be shortened or even abandoned as it happens in case of rain due to the absence of any reserve day.
An ICC spokesperson told Patriot, “We are currently assessing the situation. The ICC and our hosts the BCCI take the well-being of all participants seriously and are monitoring the air quality in Delhi. We are taking expert advice to assess the situation.”
The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) had approached the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for help, which on Saturday afternoon, sprayed water around the Arun Jaitley Stadium premises to improve air quality, especially for the fans.
The DDCA has asked the MCD to spray water around the premises in similar manner on Sunday, the eve of the match although they are not sure if it will happen.
There are mist fans already installed in certain sections like the bay area.
“The association, is however, hard-pressed of making further arrangements since the introduction of equipment (heavy fans or coolers) in common stands will be difficult from the point of view of security at such a short notice,” said a senior official.
It means that fans attending the game will have to wear masks if the air quality does not improve for the game that starts at 2 pm.