The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) faced heavy criticism from all corners for disallowing the crowd for the upcoming first Test between India and Sri Lanka – which happens to be superstar Virat Kohli’s 100th game in the longest format.
The BCCI and Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) had decided to conduct the two-match series opener at the PCA Stadium in Mohali behind closed doors due to COVID-19. The criticism followed especially by Indian fans as the last two T20I games against Sri Lanka in Dharamshala had spectators. More importantly, the second and final Test will also be played in the presence of a crowd in Bengaluru.
Coming under pressure, the apex Indian board has now announced that spectators up to 50% of the stadium capacity will be allowed for Kohli’s landmark Test. According to the BCCI instructions and the Covid-19 restrictions, the Punjab Cricket Body will now sell tickets for the upcoming Test.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah confirmed the development in an official statement, mentioning that the encouraging dip in the COVID-19 cases has allowed the host associations to permit the spectators. Shah said he is looking forward to Kohli’s 100th Test and wished the Delhi-lad all the good luck.
“The first Test between India and Sri Lanka to be played at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali will not be held behind closed doors. The decision to allow spectators into the ground is one taken by the state cricketing associations, and in the present circumstances, is based on various factors. I have spoken with the PCA office-bearers, and they have confirmed that cricket fans will be able to witness the historic moment of Virat Kohli playing his 100th Test match,” said Shah, as quoted by India Today.
“While we started off the West Indies tour of India behind closed doors, the encouraging dip in Covid-19 cases allowed the hosting associations to permit crowds. Based on the advisories by the state health authorities, fans were able to witness the games in Kolkata and Dharamshala, while UPCA had Lucknow T20I without crowds owing to polling a day before the match. I am really looking forward to Virat Kohli’s 100th Test and wish our champion cricketer the very best. This is an occasion for our fans to savour. May he continue to represent the country in many more matches to come,” he added.