England’s highly-anticipated tour of India next year will feature four Test matches played in two venues, with Chennai and Ahmedabad chosen as host cities, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced on Friday.

The tour will mark the return of international cricket to India.

The series will start with a four-match Test series for Anthony de Mello Trophy, the first of which will be played in Chennai from the 5th of February. Chennai will also host the second Test while the newly built Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the remaining two Test matches.

The third match of the series will be a day-night game, the second to be hosted in India after the match against Bangladesh in Kolkata in 2019.

“The BCCI has restricted the tour to just three venues keeping in mind the current pandemic situation prevailing in the country,” the release signed by Secretary Jay Shah said.

“Both Boards have worked closely to put together an exciting series that promises to provide high octane action between two powerhouses of world cricket,” Shah added.

England and Wales Cricket Board CEO Tom Harrison said he is looking forward to an exciting series.

“We have been delighted with the planning that has been undertaken by the BCCI to ensure the three venues in Chennai, Ahmadabad and Pune will be ready to host international cricket in a bio-secure environment...,” he said.

“The prospect of becoming the first international side to play at the magnificent Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad adds an extra dimension to the tour and I know will be something that is a highlight for both the players and management,” he added.

The last leg of the tour will feature ODIs and all three matches will be held in Pune.

A BCCI source explained the rationale behind Pune and Chennai getting matches.

“As per our rotational policy, Pune and Chennai were due to get matches long back. With this series, they would get a chance to host their pending games.

“Also after a lot of deliberation, BCCI’s operations team found that these are the three appropriate venues to create bio-secure environment for two teams,” the official said.

Since the England team will be travelling from one bio-bubble to another, it would be allowed to train during its week-long soft quarantine in Chennai.

There are no practice matches scheduled as of now and it is understood that since England would have already played two Tests in Sri Lanka, they won’t require a warm-up game after landing in Chennai.

The Indian squad members are likely to be given a week’s break after they are back from Australia and would again undergo RT-PCR Tests before they enter the bio-bubble in Chennai.

It is understood that a successful hosting of England series would pave the way for a good and successful IPL at home after it had to be taken to UAE this year.

The press release, however, did not mention if the series will be played behind closed doors or not.

Here’s the complete schedule:

England’s tour of India, 2020/21 – Test series

Date Match Venue
5th - 9th Feb 1st Test Chennai
13th - 17th Feb 2nd Test Chennai
24th – 28th Feb  3rd Test (D/N) Ahmedabad
4th – 8th March 4th Test Ahmedaba

England’s tour of India, 2020/21 – T20I series

Date Match Venue
12th March 1st T20I Ahmedabad
14th March 2nd T20I Ahmedabad
16th March 3rd T20I Ahmedabad
18th March 4th T20I Ahmedabad
20th March 5th T20I Ahmedabad

England’s tour of India, 2020/21 – ODI series

Date Match Venue
23rd March 1st ODI Pune
26th March 2nd ODI Pune
28th March 3rd ODI Pune

(With PTI inputs)