Perhaps for the first time in Ranji Trophy’s 82-year history, the day’s play in two cricket matches were called off on Saturday due to low visibility caused by high levels of pollution
As a blanket of smog hung over the city, the first day’s play in two matches of the national championship — between Gujarat and Bengal at the Ferozshah Kotla ground and Hyderabad versus Tripura at the Karnail Singh Stadium — were abandoned.
Former India wicketkeeper and Gujarat skipper, Parthiv Patel, told HT his players were left with irritation in eyes caused by the pollution. “We came to the ground in the morning and did our warm-up... We couldn’t see the wicket from the outfield, it was that bad,” he said.
The final call to abandon the day’s play was taken at 4 pm.
Coach Sairaj Bahutule, a former Mumbai and India leg-spinner said it was particularly bad for the batting side. “If his (batsman) eyes burn, he can’t play. The most important thing is light. It’s going up and down.” He said they thought the sky would clear up like it did on Friday. “Imagine facing (fast) bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah and Ashok Dinda in this light,” said the veteran of 188 first-class matches.
Since pollution is not an official reason to call off play, bad light was cited.
Pollution in Delhi-NCR crossed record levels over the past few days. On Wednesday, Delhi experienced the worst smog in 17 years, according to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
On Thursday, a day before their Indian Super League match against Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi Dynamos head coach Gianluca Zambrotta rued the effect of the alarmingly high pollution levels.
“We are forced to practice inside the hotel premises. It’s not possible to get ready for an important match like this,” he had told HT. Dynamos won 2-0 in the match in the haze, under floodlights.