Delhi smog: BCCI calls off two Ranji ties

The matches -- Bengal v Gujarat (Group A) and Hyderabad v Tripura (Group C) -- were called off as players complained of burning eyes, breathing difficulties and itching. The games will be played after the league phase.

delhi smog

Two matches in New Delhi were cancelled as the city is facing its worst smog in nearly two decades.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Two matches -- Bengal v Gujarat (Group A) and Hyderabad v Tripura (Group C) -- were called off due to a thick smog in the city. The matches will be replayed after the league phase.

As the Bengal-Gujarat game was called off at 3:15 p.m. at Ferozshah Kotla stadium, match referee P. Ranganathan informed the media that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to cancel the games due to "exceptional and unavoidable circumstances."

"The cancelled matches cannot be compared to a rained off game. Therefore, no points are being awarded to the teams involved," he added.

The first day's play of both games were abandoned as well.

The Hyderabad-Tripura tie at the Karnail Singh stadium was called off before noon by match referee Sanjay Sharma after players complained of burning eyes, breathing difficulties and itching.

Hyderabad, which is scheduled to play Services at the Ferozshah Kotla on November 13, is planning to return home for now.

“These are extraordinary circumstances. The playing conditions are bad but never before has a match been called off due to pollution. The players are finding it difficult to breathe and run and there is no visibility in the outfield,” said a Hyderabad official.

Team officials confirmed that all the players had been given masks as a precautionary measure and advised them to stay indoor.

"There is a smoky, dusty feel in my mouth. The eyes are burning for everyone and even a short game of football left many gasping. It is disappointing but there is little anyone can do about it," said Hyderabad skipper Subramaniam Badrinath.

"This is an unprecedented experience," said Gujarat's captain Parthiv Patel, "I have never come across such weather ever. It was obviously tough for all the players. In fact, we had procured masks today. Rescheduling the matches is a good development because these points can prove crucial in the qualification process and there is a window. We are looking forward to playing Bengal at a later date."

Tripura's Yashpal Singh, who has played a lot of matches here with the Services team, said the pollution and visibility in the city haven't been this bad.

"The ball and players cannot be seen near the rope. If I as a resident of the city am finding it difficult, you can imagine how bad it must be for the visitors," he added.