Noted environmentalists wrote to the BCCI to shift the first T20I match to a different city
The first T20I between India and Bangladesh at New Delhi's Arun Jaitley Stadium will take place on November 3 as scheduled, despite growing concerns about Delhi's post-Diwali degrading air quality.
The talks of the series opener being shifted from New Delhi to a different venue started doing its rounds after the capital's Air Quality Index (AQI) hovered between the ranges of very poor and severe for the last three days.
Around 7 pm on Wednesday, the time when the match will kick start on Sunday, the air quality of the area surrounding the Feroz Shah Kotla ground stood at 368, which falls under a very poor category.
Under the very poor category if a person undertakes strenuous physical activity, they can suffer severe from respiratory problems.
Issues escalated after noted environmentalists submitted a letter to Sourav Ganguly, the newly elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), requesting him to shift the first T20I match to a different city.
In the letter, environmentalists Jyoti Pande of Care For Air and Ravina Raj Kohli of My Right To Breathe stated: "In the light of extreme pollution in Delhi, we would like to request you to consider shifting the venue for the first T20 match outside Delhi.
The letter further stated that cricketers playing a physically demanding sport for three to four hours in Delhi's toxic air will end up doing more damage to the team's health in the long run.
Speculations, however, were put to rest on Wednesday evening as Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) officials confirmed that there was no question of moving Sunday's fixture out of Delhi and it will go on as per schedule.
"Yes, we heard about the letter but there has been no such communication from BCCI's end. In fact, we have been told to carry on with preparations for Sunday's match," said one of the officials.
During the India-Sri Lanka Test match in 2017, a number of Sri Lankan players fell ill due to the severe air conditions surrounding the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
DDCA, however, asserts the scenario is not as bad this time around.
"The air quality generally deteriorates here at this time, it is a known fact but I don't think that will cause problems for the players," the official added.