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Update BCCI explore allowing crowds for India-England Tests

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is exploring the possibility of allowing crowds for the second Test when India play England at Chepauk in Chennai, and the England team has promised to collaborate in its efforts. The second Test starts on February 13.

"We have not received a formal communication in writing but we received a call from the BCCI today (Sunday) that we can explore the possibility of having crowds," Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary S Ramasamy told Cricbuzz on Sunday (January 31).

"We will meet tomorrow and see if we can work out something. There is very little time between the first Test (February 5-9) and second. We don't have vendors in place and we have also not printed tickets. We will see if it is possible at all," the TNCA official said. "The time is too short."

Initially, it was decided that there will not be any crowds in the first two Tests and the TNCA had even put out a statement on that front. But there seems to be a change of heart.

There is also a change in the stand of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as well, who had given an impression that they did not want crowds for the Chennai games, just as it did during the recently-concluded Sri Lanka-England series because of the Covid-19 situation. Spectators were not allowed inside the ground during the series.

But an England team spokesman told Cricbuzz that the visitors will cooperate. "We were always comfortable (having crowds). We want to support BCCI's plans and protocols. We are collaborating and we are waiting to hear from them," the spokesman said on Sunday.

The development is also an indicator that fans, albeit limited, will be allowed during third and fourth Tests, as well as the five Twenty20 Internationals in Ahmedabad and three ODIs in Pune.

3 England players hit the nets

Meanwhile, three England players, who reached Chennai early, came out of the confines of the hotel and went to Chepauk for practice. The main group of players, which returned from Sri Lanka on January 27, continue to be in quarantine. They will have nets on Tuesday afternoon. The Indian players are expected to have a warm-up session on Monday and nets on Tuesday.


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