New Delhi: The cloud of smog over National Capital Region, which is battling severe air pollution over the last couple of weeks, has cast a shadow on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Monday
There are speculation that the match may get cancelled due to poor air quality. If that happens, this will be the first time a World Cup will be cancelled due to Air Quality Index (AQI) concerns.
As per the latest data, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi stood at 470 this morning, which is almost 20 times above the recommended limit given by the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)-India, the current air quality index has exceeded the 500-mark.
A Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) official was, however, quoted as saying that the pollution level inside the stadium was not as overbearing as projected. The AQI was reportedly below the dangerous mark.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had earlier said the decision to suspend the match will be taken on the scheduled day of the game when match officials will assess the quality of the air. According to the ICC’s guidelines on air quality an AQI reading of below 200 is considered safe for play in most cases.
The match is scheduled to begin at 2 pm and both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are looking to earn two crucial points, which might help them qualify directly for the Champions Trophy 2025.
Notably, both the teams earlier had to cancel their training sessions on Friday and Saturday and only trained with masks on the eve of the clash on Sunday. Bangladesh attempted to train on Saturday evening, wearing masks in Feroz Shah Kotla, while their asthmatic members stayed indoors.
Meanwhile, a high-level meeting has been called by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to take stock of the deteriorating AQI and the implementation of stage 4 rules under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).