ICC World Cup 2023 – Bangladesh cancel training because of air pollution in Delhi

Bangladesh cancelled their training session in Delhi on Friday to safeguard their players from the air pollution in the city, according to team director Khaled Mahmud.

The Bangladesh team had arrived in Delhi on Wednesday for their World Cup match against Sri Lanka on November 6. They had initially scheduled three training sessions at Arun Jaitley Stadium, with the first of those between 6pm and 9pm on Friday.

However, an air emergency was declared in Delhi on Thursday, as the air quality index (AQI) rose above 400 in several places in the city, forcing the government to close schools for two days and impose restrictions on construction and vehicle traffic. ESPNcricinfo has learned that at present there has been no conversation between the ICC and BCCI about moving the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka fixture on Monday.

“We actually had a training session today, but due to worsening conditions, we didn’t take the chance,” Mahmud said on Friday. “We have two more training days. Some of us developed coughing, so there’s a risk factor. We don’t want to get sick. We don’t know if things will improve, but we have training tomorrow. We want all the players to be fit for the important game coming up on November 6.”

Bangladesh’s training session on Saturday is also in the evening, while on Sunday they are scheduled to train from 2pm.

According to the Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi, managed by India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences, the AQI in the city was “likely to be in upper end of severe category” on Friday. “The air quality is likely to improve marginally but remain in severe category from 04.11.2023 to 06.11.2023. The outlook for subsequent six days: The air quality is likely to remain in severe to very poor category,” the ministry said in a bulletin on Friday.

Sri Lanka are also keeping a close eye on the AQI and may choose to cancel their training session on Saturday if pollution levels remain high. A team source said an AQI of 400 had been talked about as a cut-off mark, though they may take caution even if that number is lower.

Several of the players in Sri Lanka’s squad have already experienced playing cricket in polluted Delhi air, when they played a Test at this venue in late 2017. On that occasion several players had come off the field to vomit in the dressing room, while others received on-field medical attention for respiratory problems. At least five Sri Lanka fielders had also come out to field in masks.
On Wednesday, ahead of India’s World Cup match against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma had expressed concern over the worsening air quality in Mumbai, and elsewhere in the country, saying it is important to ensure that future generations can live “without any fear” in India. On the same day, the BCCI said it would not allow any fireworks displays for the remaining games in Mumbai and Delhi because of the air-quality issue.

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