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India vs England 2020-21: TNCA to take call on allowing crowd for Chennai Tests

India and England will clash in a four-Test series for the Anthony de Mello Trophy from Friday. The opening two Tests would be held in Chennai. Although no crowds were to be allowed initially, the government’s new regulation prompted TNCA to rethink it.

India vs England 2020-21: TNCA to take call on allowing crowd for Chennai Tests-ayh
Chennai, First Published Feb 1, 2021, 12:02 PM IST
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India gets set for its first cricketing series at home in the pandemic era, as it hosts England in a four-Test series to defend the Anthony de Mello Trophy. The series would be held across two venues, with the opening two Tests being held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai from Friday.

As per the old government guidelines, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association had decided not to allow any fans inside the venue. However, after the government announced a revised regulation of having 50% capacity crown, TNCA is rethinking.

According to a report by Sportstar, TNCA is contemplating having fans for the second Test at least. However, having the same for the opening test would be difficult, as it would take an abnormal effort to get things ready, with less than a week to go for the game.

“We will discuss among ourselves and then hold talks with the BCCI. We are trying very hard to allow media in for the first two Tests. They need not get central accreditation. We can give them accreditation. It is almost impossible to allow crowds for the first Test since there is very little time now to make the preparations. But we will certainly try to get the crowds in for the second Test. Actually, we don’t have enough time and it will be a tight squeeze to make the arrangements in the stands for the second Test since we can’t go in there during the first Test,” a source from TNCA was quoted as saying.

Earlier, England and Wales Cricket Board had urged Board of Control for Cricket in India to not have fans at the venue, citing that it could lead to a surge in the cases, besides putting its players at risk. However, with the new directives from the government, both BCCI and TNCA are likely to discuss with ECB on the same, on Monday, before taking the final call.

Meanwhile, the Tests’ second leg would be played in Ahmedabad, at the refurbished Sardar Patel Stadium, with the third Test being a day-night encounter. As for the two Tests at the venue, fans would be allowed as per the government’s new directive.

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“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,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying to ANI.

“As the seating capacity is more than a lakh, the GCA can easily accommodate 50 per cent crowds for the third and fourth Tests. The government has allowed sports stadiums to run with 50 per cent capacity, so it has been decided to allow fans for the matches in Ahmedabad. The media will also be able to cover the game from the stadium,” the source added, reports The Indian Express.

Meanwhile, BCCI is also looking to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the third Test. It would be the first international game at the venue following its redevelopment, while the new design of the stadium happens to be the brain-child of Modi.

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