Smog stops play

Pragyan Ojha and Manoj Tiwary leave Feroz Shah Kotla with masks to counter Delhi’s pollution © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The rising levels of pollution in Delhi have affected the cricket too, claiming the whole day’s play between Bengal and Gujarat at Feroz Shah Kotla and between Hyderabad and Tripura at Karnail Singh Stadium. The sun came out but failed to break through the dense smog hanging in India’s capital.

The light improved for an hour or so during the day but players complained their eyes burnt when they went into the middle. Bengal players were seen leaving the ground wearing masks. With the air quality not expected to improve dramatically, these two matches are unlikely to produce a result.

Residents in the capital region have been likening being in Delhi to being in a gas chamber. The trigger for the smog has been the after-effects of the fireworks on Diwali, and the burning of paddy stubble in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. The farmers burn the stubble to prepare the ground for the next crop, in the process damaging both the soil and the air quality. Harvesting with mechanised combines, they say, leaves them with no option but to burn the remaining stubble. When they harvested with hands, they could use the remaining stubble as fodder or to make cardboards.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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