There is possibly no better way to make residents of Delhi aware that the smog problem is getting quite acute and that action needs to be taken now than what happened today. Their most beloved sport, cricket, in which one of the ultimate regional rivalries was being played out, India versus Sri Lanka, had to be stopped today because of the harsh smog conditions.
Cricket is the most popular sport in India and players are admired as much as famous Bollywood actors and actresses.
To have to stop a match against Sri Lanka on a Sunday, with hundreds of millions watching, is a first-time feat which will certainly lead to repercussions and questions in the Indian parliament in the coming days.
The alarming level of smog in was clearly visible at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium, as a number of players were spotted wearing pollution masks during Day 2 of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This picture speaks of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Delhi?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Delhi</a> Pollution Problem. In future, cricket team will refuse to play in Delhi owing to pollution level in air. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DelhiinSmog?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DelhiinSmog</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IndVsSL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IndVsSL</a> <a href="https://t.co/UHQHn8tsgC">pic.twitter.com/UHQHn8tsgC</a></p>— UrbanVoices (@urbanvoicesin) <a href="https://twitter.com/urbanvoicesin/status/937214542471340033?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 3, 2017</a></blockquote>
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About 30 minutes into the post-lunch session (cricket matches can go on for days), play was halted for approximately 10-12 minutes when Lahiru Gamage (a Sri Lankan player) began coughing. Soon afterward, Suranga Lakmal was the second Sri Lankan player to walk off the field, to the great dismay of the Indian commentators.
On that occasion, the umpires consulted with doctors and physiotherapists before resuming play even though the Sri Lankan team demanded that play would be rescheduled to a later date.
India is currently leading the test series against Sri Lanka 1-0 and needs only a draw to obtain a record-equalling ninth successive Test series win.
The national Indian capital since last week has witnessed a sharp drop in temperature in the wake of the winter season starting. Unfortunately, the city's air pollution levels continue to rise.