50% crowd for 2nd Check vs England

Chennai, February 1

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) have decided to allow 50 per cent spectator occupancy for the second Test between India and England, to be held at the MA Chidambaram stadium here from February 13.

The first Test will be held at the same venue from February 5, but spectators won’t be allowed in for it.

The issue was discussed by the TNCA members after fresh Covid-19 guidelines on easing of public movement and entry of spectators into sporting venues were issued. The move was cleared in a meeting between TNCA and BCCI officials.

“We discussed the issue of allowing spectators for the second India vs England Test following fresh Covid-19 guidelines by the Central Government permitting crowds at sporting venues and also the state government’s SOPs given on Sunday,” a TNCA official said on the condition of anonymity. “It has been decided by the BCCI and TNCA to allow 50 per cent spectators for the second Test by following all safety protocols,” he added.

He also said that media would be allowed to cover both the Tests from the press box, but interaction with the players would be done only through video-conferencing.

The MA Chidambaram stadium has a capacity of 50,000.

The first Test begins on Friday while the second match starts on February 13. The official said there was no time to plan the entry of spectators in the ground for the opening Test.

It had already been decided to allow crowds for the third and fourth Tests, to be played in Ahmedabad.

The BCCI and the TNCA had earlier decided that the first two matches would be held behind closed doors, but fresh Covid guidelines have changed the scenario.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had requested that matches be played behind closed doors. An ECB spokesperson said it would react only after getting an official communication from the BCCI. “We are not going to comment on speculation. We are still waiting to hear from the BCCI in terms of their protocols for the forthcoming Test series,” the spokesperson said. — PTI

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