The Indian capital has been suffocating for several days as a poisonous haze has engulfed the city, leading officials to declare a public health emergency and asking citizens to avoid prolonged exposure to the heavily-polluted air.
The ecological crisis, however, did not cause the cancellation of the scheduled T20 International between India and Bangladesh, which took place on Sunday.
The players – some of whom were wearing pollution masks – were forced to face not only their opponents but also the eye-burning smog, which according to ESPN caused Bangladesh’s Soumya Sarkar and one of his teammates to vomit on the pitch.
Who said we don't celebrate #Halloween. If this isn't scary then what is.#Chernobyl#DelhiAirEmergency#DelhiPollution#DelhiSmogpic.twitter.com/RX3KhCSTzX— Shhhh???? (@volcalyp) November 4, 2019
Indian coach Vikram Rathour attempted to play down the conditions, stressing that the extreme smog hadn’t affected his team much as they had got used to the conditions.
“The game has been scheduled and we're here to play,” he said.
“No special measure is being taken (to safeguard the health of the players). We're used to these conditions.”
However, Indian cricket board president Sourav Ganguly, a batting legend, acknowledged that the conditions had been tough, tweeting: “Thank u to both the teams to play this game @ImRo45 @BCBtigers under tuff conditions.. well done bangladesh..”
Thank u to both the teams to play this game @ImRo45@BCBtigers under tuff conditions .. well done bangladesh ..— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) November 3, 2019
Bangladesh won the encounter by three wickets, taking a 1-0 lead in the best of three series. The conditions also did not appear to put off cricket fans as they packed The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.