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Second India-England Test set to welcome 25,000 fans

Up to 25,000 fans are set to be allowed at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai for India’s second Test against England later this month, while up to 28,500 spectators will be able to attend this Saturday’s Big Bash League final at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

India’s Test series against England is due to begin in Chennai on Friday. Although no fans will be permitted at the opening cricket match due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, it has emerged that up to 25,000 supporters will be allowed for the second Test, which gets underway on February 13.

According to Indian news agency PTI, the 50% attendance cap has been agreed following discussions between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), which owns and operates the 50,000-seat M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

A TNCA official told PTI: “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 standard operating procedures given on Sunday.

“It has been decided by the BCCI and TNCA to allow 50% of spectators for the second Test by following all safety protocols.”

TNCA had previously suggested that no fans would be allowed at the stadium for either Test match, but the body appears to have changed its stance.

The third and fourth Tests of the series will be held at the 110,000-capacity Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad and the BCCI has previously said it would be prepared to open the ground at 50% capacity following discussions with the Gujarat Cricket Association, which operates the venue.

In other news, the SCG will operate at an increased capacity of 75% for Saturday’s BBL final, meaning that up to 28,500 fans will be permitted. The game will see the Sydney Sixers host either the Perth Scorchers or Brisbane Heat, who face off on Thursday.

The increased capacity comes after the initial allocation of publicly available tickets was sold out within an hour of going on sale yesterday (Monday). The move has been approved by NSW Health as part of the SCG’s updated COVID Safety plan.

Following the announcement, a further allocation of tickets will go on sale tomorrow.

Image: Aravind Sivaraj/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size