Following a rise in Covid cases in the state of Maharashtra, the three-match ODI series between India and England, scheduled to be played in Pune, is reportedly set to happen behind closed doors. The BCCI are also said to be looking at Ahmedabad as a back-up option to host the three ODIs.
The second Test between India and England saw the return of live crowds to stadiums in the country and after a successful trial, the BCCI hosted over 50,000 fans in the third Test in the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The fourth and final Test and the 5 T20Is, which are scheduled to be played in Ahmedabad, are also set to oversee crowds, with the venue likely to host spectators at 50% capacity.
However, it looks increasingly unlikely that fans might be allowed for the three-match ODI series that is scheduled to be played in Pune. According to an ANI report, the Maharashtra government have given the green signal to host the ODI series in Pune, but the games are set to happen behind closed doors, in the absence of fans, owing to the worsening Covid situation in the state.
"We will not have fans with an eye on the COVID-19 situation. But whether the last game moves to Mumbai or all the matches will be played in Pune is a call that is still to be finalised. We also need to keep the English cricket board in the loop," ANI quoted a source in the know as saying.
However, it could also be possible that the entire ODI series could be moved out of the state of Maharashtra should the pandemic situation not come under control. In that case, the source revealed, the ODIs, too, will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
"While we do use charter planes, but I would think if the cases do increase in Maharashtra, we could have a situation wherein we stick to Ahmedabad for the rest of the tour," the source added.
The three-match ODI series between India and England is currently scheduled to kick-off on March 23 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.