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Why all this fuss about health? Cricket must go on, smog or no smog

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Last Updated on 3 min read

Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi 

Oops, I mean Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi!

Sa – aaa – chin!!! Sa – aaa – chin!!!

Hey man, Sachin has long retired.

Oh, Indiaaaaa!!! Indiaaaaa!!!

The match is over dude. India have lost. Go back home.

India have lost? How can it be? They had never lost to Bangladesh in the last eight T20Is.

Yes, they have lost. Everything has a first. Just like this match, when for the first time, the highlight was not something related to cricket but that two Bangladesh players vomited during the match due to Delhi’s abysmal air quality.

Oh, I see, so you are one of those environmentalists. You people keep crying without reason. You’re the ones who’ve not had fun in life, who are not passionate about anything constructive.

Did you see today’s match? Do you understand what fun it is to flock to the stadium to support your team and cheer them on? The players represent India, they are on national duty. The least you can do is to boost their morale from the stands rather than going on a tangent about the environment. Keep the cricketers out of this for God’s sake, they have nothing to do with it.

No, my dear cricket fanatic. They have a lot to do with it. They are representing the nation and by the same token, whatever is relayed to various parts of the country and the world has a bearing on the nation’s image and not just of the national cricket team.

Do you know that reports of pollution in Delhi and Sri Lankan cricketers practising in masks are making headlines in Pakistan and elsewhere? Does that not harm the reputation of the country?

And, leave the reputation aside for a moment. What about the health of close to 40,000 people who came to watch the match and that of the 22 cricketers on the field. Do you know that the Central Pollution Control Board-led task force has issued guidelines against running or jogging in Delhi in the first 10 days of November?

You are a loyal cricket fan, right? Don’t you care about the health of your beloved cricketers? Some of us begin to pant while climbing a few stairs. Just think about the cricketers playing in such a high-octane encounter, with a lot at stake, giving their blood and sweat.

I haven’t been able to jog for the last few days because my sides start hurting due to the polluted air. Just think of the pace bowlers running in and bowling in excess of 140 kmph. How would it impact their heart and lungs?

See, I do know that the air quality index in the afternoon on the matchday was as bad as 912, when the acceptable reading for this particulate matter is till 200. However, you may not know that it improved as the sunset with it getting reduced to 563 at 4:00 p.m, 492 at 5:00 p.m and 262 at 6:00 p.m. It spiked a bit later in the evening, but still, it was not as bad at it is being made to sound.

Not as bad? Are you kidding me? The Delhi state government’s medical department on Sunday issued an advisory emphasising that exposure to severe levels of pollution can even prove fatal! What are you even talking about?

And, in spite of that, “as per schedule”, another Ranji Trophy match will be played in Delhi on November 12. Just a few days ago, in October, a half-marathon was held. Did you even hear me the last time – TWO BANGLADESH PLAYERS VOMITED.

Those two would not have been fit enough for this weather. No Indian player had any trouble. Our guys are strong.

Yeah, exactly. Something to be really proud of. Do you even understand that just because the bodies of Indian players while breathing this toxic air consistently have become so used to it that they find themselves on a better footing as compared to players from others nations who are not exposed to such severe air-quality? It is already harming our players.

In fact, it is not the first time this has happened. In November 2017, multiple Sri Lankan players vomited on the field due to the poor Delhi weather. A few days later, Siddhesh Lad, an Indian batsman – if that peaks your concern – batted in a mask in a Ranji Trophy match in Delhi.

Well, I see where you are coming from. There may be a few issues with the weather but as I said, cricket has nothing to do with that. The weather has just deteriorated due to the stubble burning and Diwali and will be back to normal in a few days. No big deal. Relax.

Meanwhile, I am already excited for the next IPL. What about you, Mr. environmentalist?

This article is a piece of satire and should be read with a light heart.

Saksham Mishra
Saksham Mishra
Justifying hours of watching sports by scribbling down a few logical lines that might just about hold your interest.
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