The Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has decided that India’s remaining three T20 Internationals against England will be played without spectators.
The GCA has made the decision in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases.
The first two matches played at Ahmedabad attracted crowds of over 60,000. They returned for international cricket matches in India during the preceding Test series.
Now, however, questions have been raised over the safety of the fans amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dhanraj Nathwani, Vice President of the GCA, made the announcement in a statement.
Nathwani released the statement on Twitter on Monday, March 15, 2021.
— Dhanraj Nathwani (@DhanrajNathwani) March 15, 2021
In the statement, Nathwani said:
“T20’s on March 16, 18 and 20 will be played without audience at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
“Refund will be given to the spectators who have purchased tickets.
“Due to increasing numbers of Corona cases Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has decided to organise remaining T20 International Matches between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad behind closed doors.
“The GCA will refund the money to the spectators, who have purchased the tickets for the T20Is scheduled on March 16, March 18 and March 20, 2021.”
The GCA Vice President added that those who have received complimentary tickets should not visit the stadium.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) both issued statements following the GCA’s decision.
According to the BCCI, they will comply with the GCA’s rules. The statement also says that the BCCI will put the safety of the fans first.
Jay Shah, BCCI secretary, said:
“The BCCI will continue to comply with all the regulations put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and will always put the health and safety of its fans and stakeholders at the top.”
In their statement, the ECB added that having spectators at Ahmedabad did not affect the safety of the players on the pitch.
“Aside from meaning there will be considerably less noise in the stadium it doesn’t materially affect us as we remain in our bubble and even when crowds were in attendance we never came into contact with any of them, and the ball was sanitised whenever it was hit into the stands.”
The three-match One-Day International series between India and England will take place in Pune, and will conclude the tour.