IND vs SL smog row: Ravi Shastri said, just get on with the game, claims Bharat Arun

Dec 04, 2017, 10:59 IST | Ankur Dhawan

Unprecedented drama unfolded at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi as the highly toxic air in the city reached very unhealthy levels causing several delays in proceedings in the post lunch session yesterday

Unprecedented drama unfolded at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi as the highly toxic air in the city reached 'very unhealthy levels' causing several delays in proceedings in the post lunch session. A few Sri Lankan players marched out wearing masks after lunch, which was followed by the first halt in play as pacer Lahiru Gamage complained of discomfort which required the Sri Lankan physio's attention. It took 17 minutes for play to resume, and upon resumption Gamage struck with the wicket of R Ashwin, before walking off the park. His pace bowling partner Suranga Lakmal too, left the field soon after.

There were more stoppages in play and plenty of confusion as the Sri Lankan players kept talking animatedly to the umpires between overs. At the time Sri Lanka were left with ten men on the park, with Sadeera Samarawickrama already off the field as a precautionary measure following a blow on the helmet when he was fielding at short-leg on Day One. Under the bizarre circumstances, the Sri Lankan trainer Nic Lee and fielding coach Manoj Abeywickrama were in full whites, ready to take the field if required.

Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal wears an anti-pollution mask during fielding v India on Day Two of the Delhi Test yesterday. Pic/PTI
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal wears an anti-pollution mask during fielding v India on Day Two of the Delhi Test yesterday. Pic/PTI

India, who wanted to get on with the game, had their own messenger in head coach Ravi Shastri march on to the field to speak to the umpires. Sri Lanka's head coach Nic Pothas also had a word with the match officials. Eventually, skipper Virat Kohli declared the innings at 536 for seven, signaling to the Sri Lankans that the conditions were good enough for India to bowl, much to the delight of a large Kotla crowd, that had been growing increasingly impatient due to the regular intermissions in play.

The events evoked contrasting reactions from the two camps. "What you see is obvious. Obviously it is well documented that Delhi has high levels of pollution that got extremely high at one point, when we had players coming off the field vomitting, there were oxygen things in the change room. It's not normal. From our point of view it has to be stated that it's a very very unique case. I thought the match officials and match referee handled the situation very very well. When you have a situation that's new to everybody, it's not easy to take decisions. Myself and the managers job is to ensure that our players are safe and that's what we are trying to do," said Sri Lanka's head coach Pothas.

India's fast bowling coach Bharat Arun, however, said that India weren't fussed about the pollution and just wanted to get on with the game.

"Virat batted close to two days and he didn't need a mask," he said.

"There's pollution everywhere in our country and I don't think we are too worried on the pollution. BCCI has scheduled these matches and our job is to go out and play and get the best out of the team so we focus more on that."

About Shastri's conversation with the umpires he added, "Ravi was pretty simple, he said please get on with the game, you don't need to stop. You take a decision and just get on with the game."

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