Amid worrying pollution levels and hazardous air quality in the nation's capital Delhi, India and Bangladesh are set to lock horns in the first T20 clash at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. A thick blanket of smog engulfed several parts of Delhi on Sunday morning pushing its air pollution levels into hazardous territory. Visibility dropped significantly in the national capital as pollutants hovered in the atmosphere. Notably, for the first time in this season, the Air Quality Index (AQI) docked as high as 625 in the morning despite light drizzles in the early hours.
There have been innumerable pleas directed towards the cricketing board to shift the venue of the India-Bangladesh contest citing the issue of pollution and hazardous air quality, however, the BCCI has decided to go ahead with the same venue. When compared to a list of other sporting centres around the world that hosted games on Sunday, there was a stellar difference between them and Delhi. The Premier League game between Leicester City FC and Crystal Palace FC at Selhurst Park where the AQI is at 25. The Paris Masters finals between Novak Djokovic and DenisShapovalov at the capital of France is being played amid AQI of 42 which translates as good air quality. The Moto GP in Malaysia was hosted amid an AQI of 71 which translates to moderate air quality. The F1 circuit held at Austin, Texas at the United States was hosted amid AQI level of 68 which also translates to moderate air quality. Therefore, when compared to Delhi, the rest of the sporting centres have hosted/will host games amid good or moderate air quality whereas Delhi will host India versus Bangladesh clash amid dangerous air quality, with a risk of serious health problems for the players.
So all eyes will be on Ranjan Madugalle, who is the referee (final authority) of the match, who can still declare the condition as "unplayable" before the match commenced. According to ICC rules, a match referee is a final authority who can decide or rule against the conduct of a match if he feels the pitch, ground or playing condition (including air pollution), or visibility were not conducive to hold an international match. BCCI sources have told Republic TV that the match referee was not only concerned about the extreme pollution but also the visibility factor inside the stadium.