Bangladesh cricket players prep in masks in pollution-stricken New Delhi

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Bangladesh's bowling coach Daniel Vettori, head coach Russell Domingo and batting coach Neil McKenzie wearing masks look on during a practice session ahead of their Twenty20 cricket match against India in New Delhi on Nov. 1, 2019. (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)
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Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma plays a shot during net practice session ahead of their first T20 international cricket match against Bangladesh in New Delhi on Nov. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Updated 03 November 2019

Bangladesh cricket players prep in masks in pollution-stricken New Delhi

  • The Indian capital has been engulfed by its worst pollution of the year which has reached “emergency” levels
  • New rise in pollution blamed on fires lit by farmers to burn off stubble in regions around New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Bangladesh players trained in masks in gloomy smog Saturday ahead of the opening match of their India tour but insisted they have no choice but to endure the conditions in pollution-stricken New Delhi.
Liton Das, Shafiul Islam, Aminul Islam and bowling coach Daniel Vettori all wore masks in their final training for the Twenty20 international but Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad said no player had been affected by the extreme conditions.
The Indian capital has been engulfed by its worst pollution of the year which authorities said Friday had reached “emergency” levels. Schools have been closed and other restrictions imposed.
“We had a chat about these conditions. I think probably it is not within our control,” Mahmudullah told reporters. He said Bangladesh were focusing on “trying to adapt to the conditions,” playing and winning.
“Everybody is healthy and fine,” he added.
Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo had also downplayed fears, while admitting that some players had “scratchy eyes” and sore throats after Friday’s practice.
“When we first came here, there was smog, we all know, but the players have practiced for the last three days,” said Mahmudullah.
Much of the new peak in the most dangerous PM 2.5 pollutants — particulates smaller than 2.5 microns that get into the lungs and bloodstream — has been blamed on fires lit by farmers to burn off stubble in regions around New Delhi.
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.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) ban ruled Shakib out of the tour and next year’s World T20 in Australia.
Mahmudullah, who took over as T20 captain, put on a brave face, saying he will try to lead from the front in Shakib’s absence.
“He made a mistake but did not commit a crime. We still have the same love that we had for him,” said Mahmudullah.
“That’s an issue that has gone by. Probably it will be a proper opportunity for the younger guys to show up and stand up for the Bangladesh team.”
India’s stand-in T20 captain Rohit Sharma did not discuss the pollution and concentrated his comments on preparations for the T20 world chmampionship.
While India top the world Test championship table, they are just fifth in the T20 rankings and Sharma, who will play his 99th T20 international and become the most capped player in the format, said they would have to progress.
“We want all our bases covered before we head in to that World Cup in Australia. So this is the perfect time to do all of that but at the same time we want to win games as well,” said Sharma, leading the team while Virat Kohli is rested.
fk/tw/kaf


Boris Johnson urges ‘clarity’ on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

Updated 09 August 2020

Boris Johnson urges ‘clarity’ on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

  • The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, pulled out last month

DUBAI: Pressure is growing on English football authorities to explain why they have not approved a £300 million ($390 million) takeover of Newcastle United football club by a Saudi-led consortium.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would like to see a statement from the Premier League on its failure to reach a decision on the deal, agreed upon in April.

“There must be clarity on why there was a significant delay in a decision being made, and on the reasons why the consortium de- cided to withdraw their bid,” John- son wrote in response to fans.

“I appreciate that many Newcastle fans were hoping this takeover would go ahead and can understand their sense of disappointment.”

The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, pulled out last month because of what it called an “unforeseeablylong process” in obtaining approval.

But that has not dimmed enthusiasm in the northeast of England for the deal, which came with the prospect of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the club and the community. An online petition organized by Newcastlefans has attracted nearly 100,000 signatures, and 15 MPs have written to the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters express- ing their dismay.

Despite the formal withdrawal of the bid, the consortium members are keen to table the offer again if the logjam can be cleared.

The multibillionaire Reuben brothers, who already have sports business interests in the English northeast and who would own 10 per cent of Newcastle as part of the consortium, said last week they were “totally committed” to the deal and asked the Premier League to think again.

Amanda Staveley, the British financier who brokered the deal and

who would also take 10 per cent, said she was “humbled” by the fans’ continuing support for the takeover.

“Speaking on behalf of myself and my family, the Reuben family and the PIF, we are not just overwhelmed by the support, we are humbled by it.”

 

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