Pollution far more serious issue that hosting cricket match in New Delhi: Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir expressed his concerns regarding Delhi’s depleting Air Quality Index (AQI) ahead of the first T20I on Sunday. © PTI

Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has weighed in on the debate surrounding whether the series-opening first Twenty20 International between India and Bangladesh should be held at New Delhi given the alarming rise in pollution levels.

Gambhir expressed his concerns regarding Delhi’s depleting Air Quality Index (AQI) ahead of the first T20I on Sunday. Despite the pollution level in the national capital, the match is set to go ahead as per schedule.

“It is a far serious issue than having a game of cricket or any other sports matches happens in Delhi. For us I think people living in Delhi should be more concerned about the pollution levels rather than the cricket match that happens,” Gambhir told ANI on Wednesday.

“Not only athletes it’s also for the common man of Delhi as well. A match is a very small thing, I think we can say ok whether we want to shift the match or not,” he added.

READ: Delhi’s worsening pollution levels could force Team India to cancel training session

On Tuesday, it was reported that India will give their outdoor training sessions a miss due to the pollution and will spend more time at the gym.

“That is a very small thing, ultimately its the entire Delhi which is suffering, from kids to old age people as well, so it’s our responsibility. I got to know that pollution is still better but a lot of credit goes to the people of Delhi but hard work still needs to made by Delhites,” he said.

“So, I am not really bothered whether the match will happen or not. I hope it happens and it should happen, but again it’s the thing which is throughout the year that Delhi people face. It is far more concerning then match,” he added.

ALSO READ: Tickets For India-Bangladesh Day-Night Test Priced as Low as Rs 50

Gambhir’s comments come a day after environmentalists urged BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to shift the T20I out of Delhi.

“In the light of extreme pollution in Delhi, we would like to request you to consider shifting the venue for the first T20 outside of Delhi. Making our cricketers play a physically demanding sport for 3-4 hours in Delhi’s toxic air will end up doing more damage to our cricket team’s health in the long run,” Jyoti Pande of Care For Air and Ravina Raj Kohli of My Right To Breathe said in the letter.

“Thousands of innocent spectators at the venue will also be putting themselves at risk in order to watch the match in the prevailing situation,” they said.