Even as star batsman Mushfiqur Rahim played down concerns surrounding the poor air quality in Delhi during the 1st T20I, Bangladesh players found it tough to play the game at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday.
The spike in pollution level in Delhi was seen as a major cause of concern in the lead up to the 1st T20I between India and Bangladesh on Sunday.
Public health emergency was declared after Delhi registered its worst air quality of the season on Friday. Outdoor activities were advised against and schools were shut due to the pollution crisis in the city. However, the cricket match went on as scheduled.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had earlier said that rescheduling the match in the eleventh hour was difficult. It was also reported that he had spoken to India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma about the pollution levels and the latter confirmed India players were ready to play in Delhi.
The visibility also worsened in Delhi on Sunday morning due to overnight rain but it improved as the day progressed, paving the way for the cricket match in the evening.
Ás it turns out, Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar was among 2 batsmen who vomited on the field on Sunday during Bangladesh’s run chase of 149, according to ESPNCricinfo. Sarkar hit a crucial 35 and stitched a 60-run stand with Mushfiqur Rahim as Bangladesh registered their 1st ever win in T20Is against India.
The latest episode of air quality affecting visiting team players comes 2 years after 2 Sri Lanka fast bowlers Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal complained of respiratory problems and puked inside the Kotla dressing room during a Test match in Delhi.
Meanwhile, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had taken to social media to thank the players from both teams for braving “tough conditions” and playing the 1st T20I. Visitors turned out in large numbers to witness the series opener on Sunday.
“Thank u to both the teams to play this game @ImRo45 @BCBtigers under tuff conditions .. well done Bangladesh .. (sic),” Ganguly wrote.
Speaking after hitting a match-winning fifty, Mushfiqur Rahim said he was not concerned about the pollution as he was focussed on the job in hand during the 1st T20I.
“Personally, this air pollution is nothing for me. I was much more interested in which bowler I was facing. Playing against India in front of a big crowd isn’t something Bangladesh team gets every day,” Mushfiqur said.