Angelo Mathews, Mohammed Shami resigned to playing Test in polluted New Delhi

Both Angelo Mathews and Mohammed Shami believed the pollution made things tough in the final Test between India and Sri Lanka, but they had differing views on just how much the poor air quality affected their respective teams’ players.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 04, 2017 19:55 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs Sri Lanka,Indian cricket team,Sri Lankan cricket team
Angelo Mathews (R) plays a shot off a delivery from Mohammed Shami during the third day of the third Test match in New Delhi. (AP)

Although the Sri Lankan cricket team made a big statement about the toxic air quality in Delhi on Sunday and India dismissed those concerns outright, there seemed to be a meeting point between the teams after a demanding third day’s play in the Ferozeshah Kotla Test. (IND v SL Day 3 report)

Former Sri Lanka skipper, Angelo Mathews, said his team was helpless about pollution and that it was up to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to draw up parameters if the problem arises in the future. (IND v SL Day 3 highlights) (IND v SL Day 3 full scorecard)

The senior most member of the visiting team felt the pollution was probably worse than it was the previous day, when Sri Lanka fielders wore masks and both their pace bowlers, Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage felt sick and left the field after bowling.

There were two stoppages in play on Sunday. While Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas said his team was only seeking the umpires’ clarity as it involved the players’ health, India bowling coach Bharat Arun dismissed it as ‘unnecessary’ disruption of the game.

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On Monday, play continued. Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who batted through the day, used an inhaler early in the day before continuing.

There were mini breaks for players to stay hydrated, and Murali Vijay was off the field for a while due to fever, but India bowled almost 86 overs.

‘UPTO ICC’

“Look, it’s up to the ICC Match Referee and umpires to take the decision. We are here to play cricket and we want to get out to the park,” Mathews told reporters. “It’s (pollution) pretty much the same, or a bit worse probably. You have got to deal with what you have for the next two days.”

Mathews seemed resigned to the conditions, perhaps mindful of rocking the ties between the cricket boards of the two countries.

READ | Here’s why Ravi Shastri was trolled on Twitter after Delhi Test smog fiasco

Should ICC step in? “Look, that’s once again up to the Match Referee to talk to the ICC. This was a unique occasion. We have never had this sort of things. I am sure the officials will address the issue.”

But the Delhi haze will surely not sour the atmosphere between the teams. “Not at all… It didn’t hamper the relationship of players on the field. Off the field we are great friends and it will remain the same,” Mathews added.

‘WE’VE ADJUSTED’

Indian cricket team member Mohammed Shami admitted the pollution made things tough, but insisted the conditions were not as bad as the Sri Lanka camp made it out to be on Sunday.

“See, I was a bit down even before yesterday. I was suffering from cold,” he said, having bowled 24 sharp overs of pace in the Sri Lanka innings.

READ | India shuffle slip cordon vs Sri Lanka, and let it slip repeatedly

“High level of pollution is not a good thing. But it wasn’t as bad as it was shown (by Sri Lankan players). Maybe, we are used to such conditions and have been adjusting to it for a long time.

“It will be better if we can address issues that cause pollution. The problem remains, but we all have to take the situation in our stride.”

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 18:26 IST