First T20I: Young Indian team to battle it out against Bangladesh in Delhi's toxic air
NEW DELHI: A day before the first T20I between India and Bangladesh at the Feroz Shah Kotla, the Air Quality Index (AQI) still hovered around the hazardous mark. With no respite in sight anytime soon, the Delhi Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) along with the municipal department resorted to washing trees after receiving advice from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
A meeting had taken place late on Friday between the DDCA, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PWD and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) regarding the poor air quality.
Large water tankers were sent by the SDMC and trees were sprayed with water to ensure that the flow of pollutants into the stadium could be controlled. Polluting items within a two-kilometre radius was being cleaned and it would continue for the time being. If any polluting items such as construction material, burning garbage is found, it is to be reported to CPCB. They will ensure immediate action. The AQI is predicted to remain poor till November 5.
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On the field, the Bangladesh camp was again spotted wearing face masks with most of the coaching staff sporting one. "When we first arrived we had a little bit of difficulty because of the smog. We have had a chat about the conditions and we know it is not within our control. We have practcied for the last three days and have tried to adjust to the conditions. Everybody is healthy and our focus is on performing in the match tomorrow," Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah said.
India, on the other hand, have consistently downplayed the concerns with stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma and batting coach Vikram Rathour both saying that there was nothing particularly wrong with the conditions. However, the home side still preferred to have an optional training session on Saturday with only a few players taking part.
It has been particularly taxing on all citizens here post Diwali with Friday being the worst so far prompting authorities to shut schools till November 5, ban all construction activities and declare a "public health emergency".
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India: Rohit Sharma (c), Khaleel Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Krunal Pandya, Rishabh Pant, K L Rahul, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur.
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah Riyad (C), Taijul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Kumer Das, Soumya Sarker, Naim Sheikh, Mushfiqur Rahhim, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Aminul Islam Biplob, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Al-Amin Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Shafiul Islam.
Match starts at 7pm.