The saga of Sri Lankan cricketers and the Delhi smog

The saga of Sri Lankan cricketers and the Delhi smog

While public and expert opinion has been split over whether the conditions were bad enough for play to be halted for a span as long as 16 minutes, the abysmal state of Delhi's air quality is an undeniable fact.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan players wear masks. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The spectacle of play being halted due to unbearable pollution is something that had been unforeseen until Sunday, December 3. The ongoing Test match between India and Sri Lanka at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi was interrupted on more than one occasion, owing to the deteriorating air quality in the vicinity that left the Sri Lankan players gasping for breath. The bizarre event unfolded while India were batting on Day 2 of the Test.

While public and expert opinion has been split over whether the conditions were bad enough for play to be halted for a span as long as 16 minutes, the abysmal state of Delhi’s air quality is an undeniable fact. What makes it worse is the fact that the city is the nation’s capital and subsequently, a symbol that encapsulates the entire country’s reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world. Many Delhi residents have been complaining about the all-engulfing smog for days now.

What exactly does smog do to you?

The cricketing world has been set ablaze with theories that the Sri Lankan team over-reacted to the conditions, making a mountain out of a molehill. But as Russell Arnold said on camera in between the innings, nobody on the field, not even the umpires, were qualified to judge the parameter of air quality, making the claims of the Sri Lankan team seem not too incredulous. According to “The Quint”, Delhi’s Air Pollution may have done more harm to the Sri Lankan players and the general public than was visible to the naked eye. The harmful effects it may have on prolonged exposure have been listed as follows:

  • It can reduce lifespan by 8 hours/day.
  • It’s like smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
  • It’s like depositing 2 tablespoons of ash into the lungs.
  • It can cause heart-attack-like conditions.

The timing of the the Sri Lankan players choosing to voice their discomfort raised a few eyebrows as India were going strongly at 500-odd runs for the loss of 5 wickets. More importantly, the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli was out in the middle, looking all set to reach his triple-century. However, the constant interruptions and agitated on-field discussions led to a momentary lapse in concentration and Kohli was dismissed at a personal run-tally of 243 runs, leaving the Indian fans fuming. There came a point in the game when the visitors were in dearth of players on the field as two of them had retired to the dressing room due to uneasiness, leading the visibly irritated Indian captain to declare the innings at 536-7.