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." The sport's governing body declined to comment. India's powerful 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.
Couple of days ago at the Kotla, when Sri Lankan players had complained about being ill due to the smog, people chanted "Losers" and several Indian players lashed out at Sri Lanka's behavior. They may have to do a rethink #INDvSL #DelhiSmog https://t.co/tO7X9sR79o pic.twitter.com/qw1KEEEKKS— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) December 5, 2017
"This should be a wake up call for Pak. Our children are at a huge risk because of dangerous pollution levels," tweeted former Pakistani cricketer and political opposition leader Imran Khan about the India-Sri Lanka Test. Doctors and public health campaigners have escalated their fight against sports events in Delhi in recent years.
Doctors say no to sport in Delhi as cricketers choke in smog Earlier, PCB postponed West Indies' tour to Pakistan due to smog in Lahore#INDvSL Read here: https://t.co/40rmMOnJI6 pic.twitter.com/6k3o3p8k8e— ARY Sports (@ARYSports_Web) December 5, 2017
Last month more than 30,000 runners competed in the Delhi half-marathon - just days after smog shut schools amid a public health emergency in the capital. Doctors warned of dire health consequences and challenged the race in court but it went ahead, with runners complaining of burning eyes and sore throats. Greenpeace lobbied in October against India hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, warning it posed unacceptable risks to the world's youngest soccer stars. It also proceeded but schedule was adjusted to avoid Delhi at its worst.
Was Sunday's 'masked match' in #INDvSL Test a silent protest against #AirPollution or just drama? Sports frat divided, but doctors are clear - no one, not even @imVkohli, should play in this air. Read more: https://t.co/PCGD8d3gos#DelhiSmog @BCCI @OfficialSLC pic.twitter.com/b4NYBcCBci— Delhi Times (@DelhiTimesTweet) December 4, 2017
"Others should also think about athletes health first," tweeted tournament director Javier Ceppi after images of Sri Lankan cricketers wearing face masks went around the globe. Other events in Delhi - like an Asian tour golf title in November and Indian Super League football matches - attract less controversy but doctors say pose no less risk. "Ideally, sporting events should not be scheduled in the winter months in Delhi," chest and lung cancer specialist Doctor Arvind Kumar told AFP. "We cannot expose our athletes to inhuman levels of pollution just because a few hundred crores (tens of millions of dollars) is at stake." The Test debacle in Delhi is not the first time cricketers have complained of air pollution in the capital, with Australia citing smoggy air following their loss to India in 1996.
Delhi will be considered for future Tests, says BCCI after the smog problems for visit of Sri Lanka. https://t.co/O5dFqLpBEv— The Cricketer (@TheCricketerMag) December 4, 2017