India vs Bangladesh: BCCI to factor in smog for future ties

Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim during a practice session ahead of their first T20 international match against India, at Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim during a practice session ahead of their first T20 international match against India, at Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium, in New Delhi on Thursday.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday confirmed that the India-Bangladesh T20 match at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground will go ahead as scheduled despite the high pollution levels and resultant haze.

However, the BCCI said it will take into account scheduling future games in north India during the period.

Speaking to the media in Kolkata, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said, “We have spoken to Delhi authorities over the last two days, they are expecting the match to go through, we couldn’t cancel it at last minute.

“Post Diwali is a difficult time in the north because winter sets in and there is lot of smoke & dust. In future, when we schedule, especially in the northern part of India in the winter we will have to be a little more practical. I have spoken to the groundsmen, he says once the sun comes out, it will be fine.”

Although the CoA-led Board had promised something similar about a couple of years ago when the India-Sri Lanka Test was affected by pollution with visiting players wearing masks, it will be interesting to see how this Board, with elected officials in place now, rotates matches from now on.

Delhi could likely get matches only in February-March in future. India played Australia in an ODI earlier this year in March.

As the Bangladesh team took the field for practice on Thursday, three days before they play India in the first T20I here, batsman Liton Das stepped in with a mask on his face.

The only player to wear it, he soon took it off when he went into bat and later clarified that pollution is not a big issue. “(It is) Not a problem. My personal problem. I was not feeling well then. We can manage it. Nothing like that,” he said.

The pollution hit hazardous levels on Thursday and although the authorities are saying that things will improve, it was quite clear that the players were struggling.

The media cited to Das the example of Mushfiqur Rahim, who during the training was shouting that it was difficult to sight the white ball in the haze. But Das said that since Saturday’s game will be a night game, there is not much to worry about. India are due to practice on Friday afternoon.

Like the Bangladeshis, skipper Rohit Sharma too played down the matter. “I have just landed and haven’t had the time to assess. As far as I know the game is to be played on November 3 and will be played,” said Rohit, who will lead the side in the three-match series in the absence of a rested Virat Kohli.

“We didn’t have any problem when we played the Test here (against Sri Lanka in 2017). We are not aware of the exact discussion and I haven’t had any problem,” he added.

With generators banned in the capital, Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) will be using a direct line from an electricity distribution company.

Normally, generators are used to power the high-mast lights, especially during IPL. “We got direct supply three days back. We have generator as back-up which we’ll use in case there is some problem,” said AK Chaurasia, a civil engineer at the Kotla. “Usually we use generators during IPL but this is a special case.”