Unprecedented scenes of Sri Lankan cricketers wearing face masks during the 3rd test against India have started the debate about hosting major sports in heavily polluted New Delhi, where doctors are increasingly vocal about the health risks.
Several doctors on Monday urged Indian cricket’s governing body to revise its rulebook after a Test match between India and Sri Lanka went ahead in the capital despite players vomiting and suffocating in smog.
International cricketers returned Monday for day three of the third Test even after the air pollution in Delhi soared to hit 18 times the World Health Organization´s safe level, which itself is an alarming situation, not just for India, but for South Asia as well.
The Indian Medical Association condemned the decision, warning that playing in such conditions put athletes’ health at serious risk.
“This match should not have taken place in the first place. It is time the ICC (International Cricket Council) comes up with a policy on pollution,” said IMA president K. K Aggarwal.
“You have fast bowlers, batsmen and fielders out there exposed to these very harmful pollutants over five days at a stretch. It takes a serious toll on your health in the long run.”
Indian sport’s governing body declined to comment on the situation.
On the other hand, Indian cricket board accused Sri Lanka of making a “big fuss”, pointing to Indian skipper Virat Kohli who hit a record sixth Test double century despite the smog.