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India vs England: BCCI mulling to allow fans at Motera Stadium during T20I series, hints board official

New Delhi, January 24: Taking a cue from Cricket Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is mulling to bring back fans to the stadium for the upcoming limited-overs series between India and England which will be held the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera in Ahmedabad from March 12.

England will be in the country for a full-fledged tour, starting with a four-Test series followed by a 3-T20I and 3-ODI series against the Virat Kohli-led side. The upcoming series is the first international event the BCCI is going to host in the country post-Covid-19 lockdown.

A BCCI official in the know of developments while speaking to ANI said while the board is looking to open the stadium in Ahmedabad to fans, the final decision still lies with the government.

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"We are trying to open the stadium for fans to witness what awaits to be a thrilling T20I series between India and England. While we are yet to decide on the numbers, the idea is to get close to 50 per cent of the seats filled. But the final decision lies with the government. Safety is a priority even as we adapt to the new normal," the official said.

Earlier, it was being reported that the BCCI might even allow 50 per cent of crowd attendance for the Test series against England but there is no confirmation from the board as well as the state associations involved in hosting the matches.

The opening two Tests will be held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai which will be held behind the closed doors. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has already informed its members that no tickets would be put on sale for the first two Tests.

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In the circular, accessed by ANI, TNCA secretary RS Ramasaamy has notified the members that the decision has been taken keeping in mind the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

"In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the BCCI has decided not to take any kind of risk with the safety of the players during the forthcoming India-England Test series. The players, officials will be undergoing strict quarantine and several rounds of COVID-19 tests before entering the bio-bubble. As per BCCI directive, the first two Tests between February 5-17 being held at MA Chidambaram Stadium will take place behind closed doors," he wrote. "TNCA will not be issuing tickets or sub-committee badges."

BCCI likely to allow 50 per cent crowd attendance for England Tests

The first Test will be played from February 5 to 9 and the second one from February 13 to 17. The teams will then move to Ahmedabad for the next two Test matches - February 24-28 and March 4-8.

Keeping the IPL 2021 preparations in the mind, the BCCI might allow entry of spectators for the T20I series for that would allow the stakeholders to gauge the situation and accordingly take a decision whether or not to host the IPL at home; and or allow the fans in the stadium during the cash-rich league, which starts in April.

 
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Story first published: Sunday, January 24, 2021, 12:31 [IST]
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