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ICC likely to incorporate pollution in its playing conditions clause

Delhi will probably be ruled out when selecting venues for Test matches in winter especially because pollution is at its peak then.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan players during the 3rd Test against India in New Delhi. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After taking note of the plight of Sri Lankan cricketers during the recently-concluded 3rd Test at Feroz Shah Kotla, the International Cricket Council (ICC) might incorporate air pollution in its ‘Playing Conditions’ clause. In an unprecedented event, the Sri Lankan players were fielding while wearing anti-pollution masks during India’s batting innings with most of their players complaining of breathlessness.

Their pace bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage were also seen vomiting to uneasiness. The ICC has now decided to refer the matter to its medical committee, which has been provided with the relevant reports as well as data of the prevailing air quality in Delhi.

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“The ICC has noted the conditions in which Delhi Test was played and has already requested that the issue is considered by the medical committee for guidance should the situation arise in future. The matter is likely to be discussed in February’s ICC Meetings,” an ICC spokesperson told PTI.

As a result, there could be a modification in the clause of the Playing Conditions, where the health hazard of players related to severe air pollution can be incorporated. Since the Playing Conditions never included a specific mention of pollution, it is expected that permissible AQI (Air Quality Index) limit to play competitive cricket is likely to be inserted.

“In ICC’s ‘Playing Conditions’, there is a separate sub-clause for weather. Since this is a first instance in the game’s 140-year history that a Test match has been halted for 26 minutes due to air-pollution. The situation as we all know is very unique in nature,” a BCCI official was quoted on conditions of anonymity.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA)’s president Dr KK Aggarwal in a letter to BCCI has also urged the cricket’s national governing body to include a clause on atmospheric pollution. Dr Aggarwal on his part also provided data as to how it was a serious health issue for players that the match was not stopped.

It is also important to note that Delhi will probably be ruled out when selecting venues for Test matches in winter especially because pollution is at its peak then.

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