India vs England 2020-21: Channel 4 to broadcast matches free-to-air in United Kingdom
India and England will clash in a four-Test series, in India, with the former defending the Anthony de Mello Trophy. The tour would also comprise of five Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals. Free-to-air cricket returns in the UK for the first time since 2005.
As India prepares for the significant return of international cricket in the country in over a year, England would be the first visitor. The tour kicks off with four-Test series, from Friday, as India defends the Anthony de Mello Trophy. At the same time, it would be followed by five Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals.
The matches would be held with a limited crowd, barring the first Test, which would be held behind closed doors. Naturally, most of the fans would be glued to their television screens to enjoy all the action. While Star Sports would air it in India, the same broadcast rights in the United Kingdom were uncertain.
Meanwhile, as per a report by The Guardian, Channel 4 has secured the region's broadcast rights at the last moment. What's even exciting that it would all be free-to-air. It would also mark the return of free-to-air matches for the first time in the region since the 2005 Ashes. Although Sky Sports and BT Sports were in the running, Channel 4 has managed to strike the perfect deal with Star.
"This is fantastic news for all cricket fans in the UK. It's been a long 16-year wait for the return of live Test cricket to free to air television, but it couldn't have come at a better time. What better antidote to the lockdown blues than an England Test series in sunny India," said Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer of Channel 4.
"We're delighted to be showing live Test cricket on Channel 4 again and given the recent performances of both sides this series is set to be a cracker. We're thrilled to have struck this deal with Star Sports," added Pete Andrews, Head of Sport for Channel 4.
As per the deal, Channel 4 would beam the live feed, along with the commentary, from Star, in the UK. However, it would also have its expert panel for the studio show, to be announced in due course.
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