A second venue for the Black Caps tour of Australia is in doubt after local clubs were urged to cancel fixtures due to extreme conditions.
A Sheffield Shield clash between NSW and Queensland at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground was completed in testing conditions on Tuesday as bushfires around Sydney meant that air quality and visibility proved as big a talking point as the on-field action.
Bowlers from both sides sweated it out in conditions more commonly associated with Delhi, where smog regularly smothers India's fixtures.
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Match officials and medical staff monitored readings throughout the day but there was never any indication of play being stopped because of the haze.
On Twitter, cricket blogger Rick Eyre likened the scenes to "the apocalypse", while Cricinfo writer Dan Brettig urged authorities to call the game off.
The start of a recent NSW second XI game in Sydney's west was delayed because of poor air quality but the air-quality index was more concerning in that case.
Four days ago Cricket NSW CEO and former Black Caps captain Lee Germon urged local clubs to consider cancelling fixtures on the weekend if the conditions posed a risk to players' welfare.
"Cricket NSW strongly advises all junior and senior competitions across NSW that are affected by smoke and poor air quality to give serious consideration to cancelling this weekend's games. Our number one concern is the health of our players and officials involved in cricket," Mr Germon said.
"We appreciate this may mean some finals are not played and players may be disappointed, however the welfare of our cricket communities is our number one priority."
The Black Caps are due to play Australia at the same ground in a test match beginning January 3 and with bushfires continuing to burn in the wider Sydney region, the same concerns could easily apply.
This latest development comes after the final cricket match to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground before New Zealand face Australia in the Boxing Day test was abandoned due to safety concerns about the pitch.
The first day's play of a four-day clash between Victoria and Western Australia was called off on Saturday after several Western Australian batsmen were hit on a dangerous MCG pitch.
Western Australian batsman Shaun Marsh was hit several times and later went for a concussion test, and was quoted by news.com as saying the pitch was "unplayable".
Cricket Australia has pledged to get that particular pitch – which will be a different one to the strip used - right come Boxing Day.
- with News.com.au