The Bangladesh national cricket team yesterday braved the severe air pollution in New Delhi for nearly four hours to train ahead of the first of a three-match T20I series against the hosts, to be held on Sunday at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
Bangladesh batsman Liton Das was only briefly seen wearing a surgical mask to protect himself from the noxious air during the Tigers’ first training session at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. The right-hander later explained that he wore the mask on personal grounds.
“I had some personal problems, that’s why I was wearing the mask. I was not feeling well,” said Liton, who however did not need a mask while batting at the nets.
“The team trained for nearly four hours and nobody complained,” informed Bangladesh team media manager Rabeed Imam.
The BCCI had previously made it clear that the match would go ahead as scheduled on November 3 even though the air quality issue was brought up by environmentalists. India stand-in captain Rohit Sharma said he does not expect any pollution-related problems during the first T20I.
“I have just landed and haven’t had time to assess. As far as I know, the game is to be played on November 3 and will be played. We didn’t have any problem when we played the Test match here [against Sri Lanka]. We are not aware of the exact discussion but I haven’t faced any problems,” said Sharma.
Liton spoke to reporters after the training session and told them that ‘it is okay’ to play without Shakib Al Hasan, who was banned from all forms of cricket on Tuesday after the star all-rounder accepted the charges of breaching the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code.
“We are looking forward to the series because anything can happen in cricket. Shakib was injured before but we played in the Asia Cup, so it is okay,” said Liton.
“We prepared well before coming here. We had a training camp back in Bangladesh and then we also have a couple of days to train here. So it is a good opportunity to adapt. Shakib is the best player on our team and we are going to miss him definitely,” he added.
“If you look at our team, most of the guys are newcomers. Everybody is looking forward to seeing the young guys play their natural game and contribute to the team,” Liton continued. “Our concentration at the moment is on this T20I series and we have not started thinking about the day/night Test. We obviously think about it but at the moment, the focus is on T20I matches.”
The three-match T20I series will be followed by a two-match Test series, the second of which will be a day-night encounter at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Mahmudullah Riyad will lead the team in the T20 series while Mominul Haque will captain the team in the Test series.