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Tue, Nov 19, 2019 5:41 PM
Sat, Nov 02, 2019 2:02

Hit by Delhi's smog, Tigers mask the agony

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Burning eyes, sore throats, heavy breathing and that all-pervading smog; rarely does a cricket team or its doctors have to factor in all these elements before an international match.

Burning eyes, sore throats, heavy breathing and that all-pervading smog; rarely does a cricket team or its doctors have to factor in all these elements before an international match.

Delhi welcomed Bangladesh for the series-opening T20 match. Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo did admit that the situation was “far from ideal” for an international fixture.

The South African coach, who hails from the windy coastal city of Port Elizabeth, dealt with questions on the weather diplomatically. “Conditions are obviously not perfect with the smog, but it’s the same for both teams. We have some scratchy eyes, maybe a little sore throat now and then, but its okay. Nobody is sick or anything… it’s not ideal, but we’re not going to moan about it,” Domingo said.

It was not surprising then to see more than a few Bangladesh players with pollution masks. On Thursday, batsman-keeper Liton Das wore one briefly before removing it for his batting session. On Friday, the numbers swelled — Domingo, batting coach Neil McKenzie, spin coach Daniel Vettori and allrounder Soumya Sarkar were among those sporting masks.

For the Kotla regulars, though, it would not have been a rare sight. Two years ago, Sri Lanka physiotherapist Nirmalan Dhanabalasingham had to scamper to the nearby lanes in Daryaganj for buying masks. During the match, their fast bowler Suranga Lakmal suffered bouts of nausea and vomitted.

That Test also saw Indian pacer Mohammed Shami slumping on a chair near the boundary ropes, and spinner Kuldeep Yadav passing him a mask. A year earlier, a Ranji Trophy match between Gujarat and Bengal was cancelled due to poor air quality.

BCCI’s newly elected president, Sourav Ganguly, has already emphasised the need to be more practical when deciding fixtures. “In the future, when we schedule matches in North India during winter, we will have to be more practical,” Ganguly had said. “It’s too late to do anything because a lot of preparation goes into matches — tickets and crowds…fingers crossed.”