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10 Dec, 2019 14:58

'It's like smoking 80 cigarettes a day': Cricket Australia implored to act as bush fire smoke causes 'hazardous' conditions at SCG

'It's like smoking 80 cigarettes a day': Cricket Australia implored to act as bush fire smoke causes 'hazardous' conditions at SCG

New South Wales spinner Stephen O'Keefe has called for Cricket Australia to act after his team's Sheffield Shield win over Queensland at Sydney Cricket Ground in near-zero visibility owing to bush fires raging in the region.

The game, which took place in the world famous Sydney Cricket Ground, or SCG, was marred by what are being described as "hazardous" levels of thick smoke currently engulfing the city.

O'Keefe, who scored 4-71 during the game, said afterwards that he would not consent to competing in such conditions if he had been afforded a choice.

"The one thing they need to look at is the air quality policy. That was shocking," he said to the Sydney Morning Herald. 

"I don't have kids, but if I did they'd be locked up inside, and if I was at home I wouldn't be training or playing in it.

"The doctor was all over it and speaking to us about it, and the fact the game wasn't going to go all day was considered, but in the future they need to look at it because it's not healthy – it's toxic."

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Sydney is currently experiencing around 80 active bush fires with reports stating that the current air quality in the city is 11 times greater than what is usually considered to be a hazard but despite the potential health risks of playing in the thick smoke, O'Keefe says that it also makes the practicalities of playing the game more difficult.

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"It got to the stage we weren't going to come off for quality, it was more about visibility," he explained. "It was getting hard to pick the ball up. I'm sure they'll address it. It's a bit left field to have something as severe as this.

"For someone like me who smokes 40 a day, [these conditions are like] smoking 80 cigarettes a day."