Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is gearing up to host the first international series in more than 12 months as India host England across all formats. England’s tour begins this week with the first test in Chennai. BCCI is planning to bring fans back in the stadium for the second test in Chepauk.
While speaking to Cricbuzz, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary S Ramasamy confirmed that BCCI had approached them to come up with plans to allow fans in the stadium for the second test. He also insisted that there is very little time to make arrangements for the first test as it begins on February 5. Stadiums will likely be filled 50% of the total capacity to maintain social distance norms. Australia had a similar ratio for the number of fans during the recently concluded Border Gavaskar series against India.
There has been a change in heart for BCCI and England as it was initially decided that two test matches at Chepauk will be played behind closed doors. Despite the decrease in COVID cases in India, seeing fans so early remained a pipe dream since BCCI wouldn’t like to take any risk in the first home bilateral series during the pandemic.
If BCCI manages to bring fans for the second test that is scheduled to begin on February 13, then the last two matches at Motera stadium are also likely to be played in front of fans. Bringing fans in the stadium will not only boost revenue for stadiums but also add a more competitive edge to test matches. BCCI will surely open doors for fans at some sort of capacity for the white ball series against England if everything goes smoothly in test matches.
Fans have not been allowed inside stadiums in India for all sports ever since the pandemic began in March 2020. The Indian Premier League (IPL) and Indian Super League (ISL) took place behind closed doors at a single venue. The former was held in UAE, while the latter is currently being played without fans in Goa.