The BCCI and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) have decided to allow 50% spectators for the second India-England Test to be played at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

The decision comes after fresh coronavirus guidelines were issued by the Central Government on easing of public movement and entry of spectators into sporting venues. 

It was earlier decided that the first two Test matches between India and England in Chennai would be played behind closed doors. However, with new COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Centre, we may see fans back in cricket stands for the first time in India since the lockdown.

The TNCA has welcomed such a possibility but says that the final call will be taken by the BCCI itself. The same venue hosts the series opener as well starting from Friday but it would be near to impossible to implement all the safety protocols, issue match tickets, install CCTV cameras at entry and exit points to monitor unwanted overcrowding, etc. 

“If the BCCI asks us to allow fans inside the stadium from the first Test itself, we might not be able to do so due to time constraints. We only received the government notification on Saturday. You can't organise entry of spectators at such short notice." TNCA secretary RS Ramasaamy told TOI on Sunday.

With Tamil Nadu showcasing a downward spike in COVID cases in recent weeks, a Tamil Nadu government official mentioned that all the safety measures are in line with new health guidelines issued.

"All spectators will be subjected to thermal screening and should have the Aarogya Setu app on the mobiles. Sanitising stations should be installed at multiple points inside the stands. There should be a strong vigilance inside the stands so that unnecessary gathering can be avoided. Other precautionary measures like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing are mandatory,"  the official stated.

Meanwhile, crowds will also be allowed for the third and fourth Tests which are scheduled to be held at the newly revamped Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad.

Feature image courtesy: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP