India are set to take on Bangladesh in the first of two T20Is in Delhi’s Arun Jaitley stadium on Sunday. But with air quality taking a turn for the worse after Diwali, a couple of environmentalists took it upon themselves to write an open letter to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, requesting him to shift the venue from the national capital, citing “damage to our cricket team’s health in the long run”. The environmentalists wrote in the letter that making the team play for three-four hours in the Delhi air would adversely impact them.
“On the 3rd of November India is scheduled to play against Bangladesh in a T20 match at Feroz Shah Kotla at a time when pollution levels are expected to be between severe to hazardous,” activists Jyoti Pande and Ravina Raj Kohli wrote in the open letter.
“In the light of extreme pollution in Delhi, we would like to request you to consider shifting the venue for the first T20 outside of Delhi,” they wrote.
“Making our cricketers play a physically demanding sport for 3-4 hours in Delhi’s toxic air will end up doing more damage to our cricket team’s health in the long run,” they added.
Jyoti Pande and Ravina Raj Kohli work for ‘Care For Air’ and ‘My Right To Breathe’, two non-profit organisations that advocate and raise awareness for clean air.
“We would also like to request you to consider setting up of responsible sports protocols which take into consideration the AQI of venues and cities while scheduling cricket matches be it domestic or international,” they added.
Poor air quality has been a concern in Delhi. In December 2017, Sri Lanka players found it difficult to breathe during the Test match in Delhi and even wore masks while fielding.
India take on Bangladesh in two T20Is, starting with the match in Delhi on Sunday. The two teams will then play in two Test matches, starting on November 14.