Windies opt to bowl v Afghanistan in smog-hit Lucknow

Kieron Pollard (Supplied)
Kieron Pollard (Supplied)

Lucknow - West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard won the toss and elected to bowl first in the opening one-day international against Afghanistan in smog-hit Lucknow on Wednesday.

North India has been in the grip of severe pollution and schools were shut in New Delhi, with authorities declaring an emergency situation in the national capital.

The air pollution in Lucknow - some 550km to the east - has also been "very unhealthy" with the reading for pollutants in the atmosphere hitting 249 micrograms per cubic metre on Wednesday afternoon.

The recommended World Health Organisation safe daily maximum is 25.

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh, who has played an ODI for the United States, makes his debut for West Indies alongside paceman Romario Shepherd.

"We would want to exploit the moisture on the track," Pollard, the newly appointed limited-overs captain whose team lost the warm-up game to the Afghans, said at the toss.

"We are playing four fast bowlers."

Afghanistan, who have kept their home base in India since 2015, will play their first international game in Lucknow after away moving from Dehradun due to the lack of good hotels.

The war-torn nation, who lost their opening Test to India inside two days last year, recently beat Bangladesh in a one-off five-day game under new captain Rashid.

"We would want to go out and play positive cricket," said Rashid, the team's ace spinner.

"We will take positive energy from the Bangladesh series. We have youngsters in our squad."

Both captains did not discuss the air quality at the venue.

Every winter, the northern states of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are blanketed by a poisonous smog of car fumes, industrial emissions and smoke from stubble burning on farms.

Sunday's Twenty20 between India and Bangladesh was severely affected by pollution with Indian media reporting that two Bangladesh players vomited on the pitch at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla ground.



Rashid Khan (captain), Hazratullah Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ikram Ali Khil, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq

West Indies

Kieron Pollard (captain), Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Sheldon Cottrell, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh

Umpires: Paul Reiffel (AUS), Bismillah Jan Shinwari (AFG)

TV Umpire: Izatullah Safi (AFG)

Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

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