India’s take on Sri Lanka players’ genuinity after their dramatic struggle in Delhi’s pollution on Day 2 took a drastic turn on Day 4 when Mohammad Shami fell prey to the smog. Sympathizing with the fast bowlers, Shikhar Dhawan stated that their bowlers' struggle could indeed be genuine after all.
Indian team management hadn’t taken Sri Lanka’s problems with Delhi’s pollution very seriously on the second day with bowling coach B Arun even questioning their bowlers’ fitness after they had clearly struggled to breathe and even vomited before coming on the field wearing masks following the lunch break on Sunday.
Indian pacer Mohammad Shami, however, wasn’t so indifferent towards the opponent and had stated that although Indian players being used to the pollution wasn’t a good thing, the situation wasn’t as bad as it was depicted by the Sri Lankans.
However, the Bengal bowler was next to fall prey to the toxic air and was seen vomiting on the field while India took the field for Sri Lanka’s last wicket. His teammate, Shikhar Dhawan, seemed more sympathetic with the Lankans post game, after watching Shami struggle in the hazy ambience inside Feroz Shah Kotla.
“It is possible (that their discomfort is genuine). Now only they (Sri Lankans) know (if their concerns have been genuine). Maybe in Sri Lanka the pollution is not that high. There are more beaches in Sri Lanka. It's natural that coastal areas won't have so much air pollution,” said Dhawan as quoted by Cricninfo when asked about his stance on the situation.
“And it is not as if there is no pollution. I won't hide that. It is what it is. Maybe they are feeling it more, I don't know. But I still insist playing is our farz and karm [the two words loosely translate to duty and deeds but mean much more], which we should do. They must be feeling it (discomfort), though,” Dhawan said holding duty first.
Being a local, Dhawan has grown in these conditions and knows the reasons for it very well. He also stated that the pollution levels are not that high when played in different months other than winter but even the smog in Delhi has never stopped the game from proceeding.
“Because the crops are harvested in other states (and the stubble is burnt for new crops), the pollution becomes a bit too much in these months. These days there has hardly been any sun either. If there had been sunlight, maybe the pollution would have come down a little bit. But it has not impeded us when playing cricket," said Dhawan.