Delhi smog leads to cancellation of Ranji matches: “Our eyes were burning”

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Delhi smog leads to cancellation of Ranji matches: “Our eyes were burning”

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SportsCafe Desk


A couple of Ranji matches—Gujarat-Bengal and Hyderabad-Tripura—scheduled to be held at New Delhi have been canceled due to heavy smog. The players complained of ‘eyes burning’ and headaches ahead of the game, and the BCCI have decided to reschedule the matches due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

“The Technical Committee of the BCCIrecognised the extraordinary circumstances prevailing in Delhi and decided to reschedule the Paytm Ranji Trophy 2016-17 fifth round matches between Hyderabad-Tripura and Gujarat-Bengal after the first two days of play were lost due to smog conditions in New Delhi.

“The Hyderabad-Tripura match was to be played at the Karnail Singh Stadium while the Feroz Shah Kotla ground was scheduled to host the Gujarat-Bengal match from November 5, 2016 onwards.

“The revised venue and dates for the above matches which will be played after the league phase of Ranji trophy, will be announced shortly,” read a press release by the BCCI.

Rising levels of pollution have been a big concern at the capital at recent times. Both the Ranji matches scheduled to take place on Sunday were canceled without a single ball being bowled.

"The teams were informed around 3.15 in the afternoon that the match was called off. Our eyes were burning. Some of the guys had headaches. Pollution was at the highest level. This is the first time in my cricketing life I have come across such a scenario. We have not got any directives from the BCCI whether teams will share points or the match might be rescheduled," Sairaj Bahutule, the Bengal coach, told ESPNcricinfo. "

Bharat Arun, the coach of Hyderabad, said that the conditions were impossible to play in. He said, "We could not even stand outside as our eyes started burning. It was impossible to run in or do anything."

Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary revealed that the decision was taken after consultation with both the captains.

"Yesterday, in the afternoon, when light improved, we went out to toss. But the dust and pollution was so bad that our eyes started to water.

"In consultation with both captains, it was decided that we'll call off play. But today, when the same situation persisted, the match referees decided it was unsafe to even attempt to play. It was called off a little after 3pm. We've played a lot of cricket in the north, especially Delhi, in winter months in the past. But I haven't seen anything like this.

"The board is working towards rescheduling the game, although I'm not sure how that will be feasible at this stage. We played our first game only in the second round, so it's now a challenge to fit the game in. But we've been told this won't count as a match, neither will points be split," Tiwary said.

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