New Delhi: Cricketers and footballers playing top division domestic matches in Delhi have complained about sickness due to the worsening air quality.

Mumbai cricket coach, Vinayak Samant, who is in Delhi for his team's Ranji Trophy opener against Railways, revealed that pace bowler Tushar Deshpande became sick owing to the prevailing pollution in Delhi.      

“Tushar is not feeling well. He has been vomiting and complaining of headache and fever since he arrived in Delhi. But he will be playing tomorrow’s game,” Samant said.

“A lot of players are complaining of sickness. There’s a lot of bacterial things in the air. I have been sick for a couple of days... runny nose, diarrhoea... although I don’t know if it’s because of the pollution or because of food. But it’s difficult to adapt. This is something we have to deal with though,” said Dutch footballer Gianni Zuiverloon, who who plays for Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League (ISL) and has played professionally in England, Spain and Netherlands.

Last year, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) cancelled two Ranji Trophy matches due to conditions that were "unhealthy to play". The FIFA had also excluded Delhi as a venue for the knockout matches of the Under-17 World Cup due to the poor air quality.

“We are not used to this but we can’t change it. It is not easy to adjust to this pollution. If the pollution is getting worse, the health of my players will be more important than anything else. We are having normal training days right now (but) we'll see,” said the Spanish coach of Delhi Dynamos, Josep Gombau.

Most players are staying indoors, stepping out only when necessary. 

“I go out only for training or grocery-shopping. I don’t go for walks during this time. I don’t think there’s a lot you can do to prevent yourself from breathing this bad air,” Zuiverloon said. “I just have to deal with it... that’s life over here. I can only wear the mask when I am not training or playing,” he added, who trained wearing a mask before Delhi’s Indian Super League (ISL) match against NorthEast United at JLN Stadium on Tuesday.