Sports minister finally approves cricket players to leave for India

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Sports minister finally approves cricket players to leave for India

Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep was included after the board preferred not to play him in the ongoing test series against India to manage his workload.

In the wake of Delhi's air pollution levels taking centre stage during the third and final test match between India and Sri Lanka, Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun on Sunday said the Indian cricket team was focussed on playing the match and achieving for the country.

The second day's play in the match was halted for 26 minutes after the Sri Lankans complained of breathing problems, forcing Indian captain Virat Kohli to declare the innings at 536/7.

Condemning the Test, KK Aggarwal, the president of the Indian Medical Association, was quoted by reports as saying: "This match should not have taken place in the first place. Also it could be that we are more used to (pollution) it and our ability to adjust is much more compared to them", said the 27-year-old pacer.

According to the BBC, India's Cricket Board says it will take smog into consideration when scheduling matches in Delhi in the future.

But the USA embassy website on Monday urged Delhi residents to "avoid all outdoor exertion" as concentrations of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants known as PM2.5 soared to hazardous levels.

Delhi has been ranked among the world's most polluted capital cities, with air quality worsening in winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground.

With pollution levels particularly alarming in the past two years, doctors have raised awareness against sports events in Delhi.

"My eyes are burning; my throat is dry". Doctors last month declared a public health emergency in the capital as pollution soared to 40 times the level deemed safe by the WHO, shutting down schools for days.

According to the Hindustan Times, doctors launched a legal challenge in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the race from going ahead.

Greenpeace lobbied in October against India hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, warning it posed unacceptable risks to the world's youngest soccer stars.

"Others should also think about athletes health first", tweeted tournament director Javier Ceppi after images of Sri Lankan cricketers wearing face masks went around the globe.

"The match can not be cancelled though pollution is everybody's concern". It is time the ICC comes up with a policy on pollution.

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