Joe Root, the former captain of the England cricket team, provided valuable insights into the challenges and difficulties faced by England players during their ODI World Cup 2023 match against South Africa, held in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Saturday (October 21).
England’s ongoing struggles in the ODI World Cup 2023
England, the defending champions, find themselves at the bottom of the points table after enduring a significant 229-run defeat at the hands of South Africa. Their campaign in the CWC 2023 has encountered a rocky start, with three losses out of the four games played thus far.
Concerns about pollution impacting players’ performance
In a recent development, Root shed light on the adverse effects of pollution on his teammates during the game against the Proteas.
“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 was quoted as saying by iNews.
“You could see it with Heinrich Klaasen. You could see how much it took out of him, not being able to get back out onto the field. 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,” the 32-year-old added.
Root further expressed that several English players, including Adil Rashid, struggled to breathe properly.
“Rash [Rashid], bless him, I don’t think was great going into the game. He put in a brilliant performance for us. Some of the noises he was making when he was walking back to his mark summed it up, really. Trying to get his breath back. It was tough, but that’s the sort of stuff that you come up against and contend with when you come out to play in India at this time of year,” he concluded.
England’s upcoming match against Sri Lanka
England, the reigning champions, currently occupy the last position in the points table. The current situation sees them perilously close to an untimely departure from the tournament. Despite early setbacks, England are gearing up for their next fixture against Sri Lanka, scheduled at the same venue in Mumbai on October 26. As they strive to bounce back, Root and his team face the pressing need to address their performance issues and adapt to the unique conditions they encounter in the ongoing tournament.
Joe Root, a key player for England, says that the increasingly deteriorating air quality in India, especially in Mumbai, is largely to blame for the team’s poor showing. The air quality in Mumbai, a city known for its busy streets, diverse culture, and cricket-obsessed inhabitants, has significantly worsened in recent years. This alarming drop has resulted in several reports of individuals having difficulty breathing. When compared to other major cities with similar reputations for high pollution levels, Mumbai’s air quality actually ranks higher. Players’ onfield performances have suffered as a result of their increased anxiety caused by these circumstances.