Masks were worn by Bangladeshi coaching personnel — spin-bowling coach Daniel Vettori, batting coach Neil McKenzie, and head coach Russell Domingo — as they went about overseeing the team's training in smoky conditions at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Friday.
After the air quality index worsened to 'severe' levels in the last two days, Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister, described the city as a gas chamber. Schools in the city have been asked to remain closed till November 5.
The first T20 is scheduled to be held on Sunday, but neither Domingo nor Vikram Rathour, the Indian batting coach, expressed much concern about the situation. Domingo pointed out it wasn't very different from Bangladesh, where pollution levels are high, while Rathour described it as “nothing special.”
“We are used to these conditions, we have played under these conditions before so nothing special. Pollution is there, it is there. The game has been scheduled. We're here to play, and hopefully win,” Rathour said tersely in an interaction with mediapersons here.
Moreover, he claimed the discomfort due to heat or pollution couldn't bother those who immersed themselves in their activity. “Once you're into the game, I don't think you will notice it. While playing cricket you play sometimes in hot weather, at 45-46 degrees. Sometimes, there are extreme cold conditions. So once you're into the game, I don't think you notice these things. It's when you're sitting out, you notice it then,” he said.
'It is what it is'
Domingo, on the other hand, acknowledged the pollution wasn't ideal, but didn't wish to dwell on it too much. “It's not something you'd want, but there is nothing you can do about it. It is what it is. We have to make sure that we prepare as well as possible and deal with it as well as possible. Thus far, we sure have some scratchy eyes and some sore throat now and then, but it's been Okay. Nobody's been sick or dying or anything like that. We've been okay with it,” he said.
“Obviously you don't want to be in it for six or seven hours. Three hours we're playing and three hours practice sessions. It's probably as long as you would want to be in it at the moment,” he added.
Domingo revealed his team hadn't made any arrangements to deal with the contingency of worsening health. “We know that Sri Lanka struggled with it last time. There's a bit of pollution in Bangladesh as well so it's not a massive shock to the system as maybe some other countries can experience. The players have dealt with it really well – 'ít's a bit smoky but let's get on with it and practise.' They haven't made too much of an issue out of it. Coaches haven't either and we just have to go about our business as well normally would,” he said.
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