The coronavirus pandemic sabotaged the sporting calendar of various events all across the globe last year. Matches were cancelled and the IPL was postponed for an indefinite period of time. In a bid to restart cricket, ICC came up with latest guidelines and notified all the national cricket bodies to stage matches without fans.
Since then, all the games were played behind the closed doors including the lucrative Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates. However, after the months passed, the cricket boards allowed at least 50% fans to turn up in the stadiums. Case in point, the next important assignment for India is against England at home.
Both teams will lock horns with each other in a full-fledged series comprising 4 Tests, 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs. There were doubts whether the upcoming series will expect fans. The first two Tests will go all guns blazing at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The third and fourth Test is scheduled to be played at the Sardar Patel Stadium also known as Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Fans can turn up in numbers for 3rd and 4th Test
In the latest development, it has been learnt that fans will be allowed to enter the stadium in the third and final Test. It is well-known that the third Test is a day-night pink-ball affair. Speaking to news agency ANI, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official, on the conditions of anonymity on Monday confirmed that spectators will be allowed to come in for the last two Tests in Motera.
“Yes, in what comes as a welcome sign for hundreds of our cricket loving fans, they will be allowed to come into the stadium for the Motera Tests,” the official said. Last week itself, the Sports Ministry had revised its Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) and cricket stadiums were permitted to operate at full capacity in the wake of COVID-19 protocols.
While the Tests in Motera stadium will have capacity crowd, the second Test may have 50% crowd if the advanced talks between the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) and the BCCI are good. “See the new regulations allow for 50 per cent fans, so we are going to speak to the BCCI through our secretary and a decision will be reached only after that. But yes, for now, let’s wait and watch till tomorrow,” a top TNCA official said.
When asked about the crowd number, the senior official said that the Tamil Nadu government permitted only 50 per cent of the capacity. “If we do get the go-ahead, it will only be 50 per cent as per the order of the Tamil Nadu government. But a lot will also depend on the BCCI and the ECB. So, we will get an idea on Monday,” the official added in a statement.