NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah Riyad won the toss and elected to bowl in the opening Twenty20 international against India in a pollution-stricken New Delhi on Sunday.
The Indian capital has been blanketed by smog with authorities saying air pollution had reached “emergency” levels, with schools closed and other restrictions imposed.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to change the venue due to logistical issues, although president Sourav Ganguly said they will “be more practical” in the future when scheduling matches in northern India.
The tourists, whose players trained with masks in the run-up to the first of the three matches, have handed opener, Mohammad Naim, his international debut.
“The wicket looks good, so we need to restrict them to as low as we can,” Mahmudullah said at the toss.
“It’s a good opportunity for other guys in the team to step in Shakib and Tamim’s (Iqbal) absence.”
Bangladesh arrived in India in shock after star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was last week handed a two-year ban for failing to declare illegal approaches by a bookmaker in 2018.
For India, all-rounder Shivam Dube will make his international debut, as stand-in-skipper Rohit Sharma said the series was an opportunity for new talent to make their presence felt.
“We will have to access the wicket at the start to see what the fighting score is,” said Sharma.
“This is an opportunity to test out players who have done well in domestic cricket. We have gone with three spinners, two medium-pacers and an all-rounder in Dube.”
In December 2017, two players from Sri Lanka were ill on the pitch because of smog, and play in the Test match was briefly suspended.
Every winter, the megacity of 20 million people is blanketed by a poisonous smog of car fumes, industrial emissions and smoke from stubble burning at farms in neighbouring states.
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain
Umpires: CK Nandan (IND), Nitin Menon (IND)
TV Umpire: Chettithody Shamshuddin (IND)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)
© Agence France-Presse