The first two Tests of the upcoming India-England series will be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium behind closed doors, a top official from host association TNCA said on Friday.
According to Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary RS Ramasaamy, the two Tests would be played without spectators as per a BCCI directive, considering the prevailing Covid-19 situation.
“Yes...crowd will not be allowed for the two Test matches as a preventive measure in view of the virus situation,” he told PTI.
Also, a circular dated January 20 has been sent out to TNCA members saying that the decision to play the matches behind closed doors was taken along with the BCCI.
“In view of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the BCCI has decided not to take any kind of risk with the safety of the players during the forthcoming India-England Test series,” the circular read.
“As per the BCCI directive, the first two Test matches between February 5 and February 17 being held at MA Chidambaram stadium will take place behind closed doors (No Spectators/Guests/Sub-Committee Members) as a preventive measure,” it added.
The teams are expected to reach Chennai by January 27 and undergo testing before entering the bio-bubble.
It must be noted that the Indian government had recently announced that outdoor sporting events could be conducted with 50 percent of spectators after following the standard operating procedures.
However, a senior official of Gujarat Cricket Association that is set to host the last two Test matches and the entire five-match T20I series are still optimistic of having some fans during the matches at the refurbished stadium at Motera, according to an ESPNCricinfo report.
With a capacity of 110,000, the authorities are hopeful of at least having 20-30% of crowd attendance at the ground if both the Indian and state governments permit.
The first Test is scheduled to begin in Chennai from February 5.
(With PTI inputs)