Rohit Sharma of India plays a shot for six during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup India 2023 between India and England
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There will be no fireworks for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 matches held in Delhi and Mumbai due to escalating air pollution issues in both the Indian cities.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced it would prohibit fireworks during the remaining World Cup 2023 games in Mumbai and Delhi because air quality in both the cities has deteriorated sharply.
The BCCI said the decision was made as it is “sensitive to environmental concerns”.
“I took up the matter formally with the ICC [International Cricket Council] and there won’t be any fireworks display in Mumbai and Delhi, which can add to the pollution level,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Board is committed to combating environmental issues and will always place the interest of our fans and stakeholders at the forefront,” he said.
“The BCCI acknowledges the urgent concern surrounding air quality in both Mumbai and New Delhi. While we strive to host the ICC World Cup in a manner befitting the celebration of cricket, we remain steadfast in our commitment to prioritising the health and safety of all our stakeholders.”
The decision comes just days after England star batter Joe Root revealed his teammates struggled to breathe properly during their World Cup match against South Africa in Mumbai.
“I’ve not played in anything like that before. I’ve obviously played in hotter conditions, and probably more humid conditions. But it just felt like you couldn’t get your breath. It was like you were eating the air. It was unique,” Root said in a press conference.
“I mean you couldn’t get away from it. You walk out onto the field and your shirt’s soaking wet, and you have a lot heavier breath than you would do, and you know you’ve done your fitness and stuff, it’s not like you’re short on that. So you are very aware of it.”
India is due to take on Sri Lanka at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on 2 November.
The city has one more league game on 7 November in which Australia will go against Afghanistan, followed by the semi-final on 15 November.
Delhi is set to host its final game for the 2023 World Cup at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, in which Sri Lanka will go against Bangladesh on 6 November.
The BCCI claims having the matches without the traditional fireworks in both cities is in the larger “public interest”.
“This is more of a public interest statement that will increase the environmental awareness among citizens,” a senior BCCI official told the Indian Express newspaper.
“This was a way of setting an example and bringing a significant societal change.”
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