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India-England T20 Series: Will Audience Be Allowed Inside Stadium?

New Delhi: In what could be great news for the fans in a cricket fanatic country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has evinced interest to get audience back into the stands again for the upcoming T20I series between the hosts and England which is scheduled to be played at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad from March 12.

According to BCCI sources, the board is keen to open the stadium in Ahmedabad to the cricket crazy fans. However, the final decision still lies with the government.

“We are trying our best to open the stadium for the fans to witness the exciting T20I series between India and England. The idea is to get minimum of 50 per cent seats in the stadium to be filled. However, the final decision will be taken by the government. Though we are adapting to the new normal, safety is still the priority,” ANI reported quoting an official.

According to the decision taken keeping in mind the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the first two Tests between India and England will be played behind closed doors at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has already notified its members that no tickets would be put on sale for the first two games.

As per the BCCI directives, any kind of risk will not be taken regarding the safety of the players during the forthcoming Test series.

“All the players and officials will be undergoing strict quarantine and several rounds of Covid-19 tests before entering the bio-bubble. We will not be issuing tickets or sub-committee badges for the first two games to be played between February 5-17,” said TNCA secretary RS Ramasaamy.

The first Test will be played from February 5 to 9 and the second from February 13 to 17 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The teams will then move to Ahmedabad for the next two Test matches – February 24-28 and March 4-8.

The Indian squad for the first two Tests have already been announced. Skipper Virat Kohli, all-rounder HardikPandya, and veteran pacer Ishant Sharma have made their way back into the squad. KL Rahul has been picked, subject to fitness.

Kohli has returned to the squad after missing the three Tests against Australia as he had taken paternity leave. Hardik had made a comeback into the team as a pure batsman and his inability to bowl will be a major concern for the team management. Ishant, who had missed the Tests against Australia, has also made his way back into the squad on the back of some quality performance in the on-going Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Schedule and venue:

Tests (2 each in Chennai & Ahmedabad)

1st Test: February 05-09, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

2nd Test: February 13-17, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

3rd Test: February 24-28, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad

4th Test: March 04-08, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad

T2oIs (All in Ahmedabad)

1st T20I, March 12

2nd T20I, March 14

3rd T20I, March 16

4th T20I, March 18

5th T20I, March 20

ODIs (All in Pune)

1st ODI, March 23

2nd ODI, March 26

3rd ODI, March 28

Squad (For first two Tests):

India: ViratKohli (C), AjinkyaRahane (VC), Rohit Sharma, MayankAgarwal, Shubman Gill, CheteshwarPujara, KL Rahul, HardikPandya, Rishabh Pant (WK), WriddhimanSaha (WK), RavichandranAshwin, KuldeepYadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, JaspritBumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur.

England: Joe Root (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes (WK), Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns.

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