As live cricket is set to resume in the country with the India-England Test series, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has decided to play it safe. The first two Test matches in the India-England series to be held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai will have no fans in the stands. Even as the sporting world is returning to normalcy, TNCA is clear that fans will need to enjoy the games on television as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Indian government had recently ruled that outdoor sport could be conducted with spectators at 50 percent capacity. But TNCA is not ready to risk, as yet.
Speaking to ANI, a TNCA official said that the first two games will not have any fans coming in as the safety of the cricketers is priority at the moment.
"We will not have any fans coming in. What happens later in the series is a call for BCCI to take along with the English cricket board. But the first two games will not have fans. Cricket lovers will need to watch their favourite stars in action on televisions for now," the official said.
The first Test will be played from February 5 to 9 and the second one from February 13 to 17. It is believed that the second half of the series could see fans coming in.
Chennai will host the first two matches of the four-Test series with the first Test scheduled to be held from February 5 to 9 and the second from February 13 to 17.
The Indian selectors led by Chetan Sharma named the squad for the first two Tests against England. Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Ishant Sharma have made their way back into the squad. KL Rahul has been picked subject to fitness.
While Kohli is set to return after missing the three Tests against Australia as he had taken paternity leave, Hardik's inclusion comes on the back of him working overtime on his fitness after returning from the Australia limited-overs series. His inability to bowl was a major concern for the team management.
Ishant, who had missed the Tests against Australia has also made his way back into the squad on the back of some quality performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. While it is a T20 tournament, it showed that he is match-fit. Spinner Axar Patel has also made his way into the Test squad for the first two matches while T Natarajan who played his debut Test against Australia has not been included for the England Tests.
The first two games of the 4-game series are to be played in Chennai before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test.
India's squad for first two Tests against England: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul (subject to fitness), Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.
With ANI Inputs