The Maharashtra government has allowed 25 per cent crowd for the second and final Test between India and New Zealand, which will begin at the Wankhede stadium from December 3 however, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is reportedly pushing for more.
The historical Wankhede stadium has a seating capacity of 30,000 and 25 per cent attendance meanws only 7,500 spectators will be allowed to witness live action from inside the stadium.
As per reports, a MCA official has said they would try to get the limit increased to atleast 50 per cent.
Significantly, the last Test at the Wankhede stadium was against England in December 2016 and the upcoming contest will mark the return of international cricket at the iconic venue after COVID-19 had disrupted the game for a long time.
Several reports suggests that the Maharashtra government is taking the precaution, keeping in mind the new emergence COVID variant in South Africa and although India is yet to report its first case in the new variant, the state government is trying to take no chance.
On Saturday due to concerns over the new Covid-19 variant, hosts Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Netherlands Cricket Board (KNCB) had announced to mutually postpone the three-match ODI series between their national sides.
With the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in South Africa, many countries around the world had imposed restrictions on flights arriving from South Africa following which there were also concerns in the Netherlands camp following which the series was postponed.
“We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount,” CSA Acting CEO, Pholetsi Moseki said on Friday adding: “The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view. CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023.”
On the other hand, the Indian team is also scheduled to travel South Africa for three Tests, as many ODIs and four-match ODI series after the ongoing home series against New Zealand. However, the spread of the new variant of Covid-19 in the African nation has raised doubts over the upcoming tour.
The fourth wave of the pandemic is likely to witness a peak in South Africa in the next few weeks which would coincide with India’s tour.
Reacting on the possibility of a spike in pandemic, CSA had said that they are monitoring the situation in different parts of their country and will keep the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) updated about the developments.
“We are in contact with the BCCI and there is no prejudice to the Indian tour to South Africa at this stage. We will, of course, continue to monitor developments regarding the spread of the virus and keep the BCCI informed. As CSA we remain committed to ensuring that all visiting teams and Proteas players are afforded a safe environment to play cricket,” Lawson Naidoo, the head of CSA, was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Indian ‘A’ men’s team is currently in South Africa and is scheduled to play two more four-day games which start on November 29 and December 6 after the first affair ended in a draw.