The West Bengal government has allowed 75% spectator attendance for the upcoming three-match T20I series against the West Indies, scheduled to be played at the historic Eden Gardens from February 16.
As per a state government notification, which was issued on Monday, “all indoor and outdoor sports activities will be allowed with 75 per cent of the capacity of the venue”, which means a attendance of around 50,000 is liklely ton be expected at the historic venue.
After playing the three-match ODI series in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi stadium, beginning February 6, the Kieron Pollard-led West Indies will is scheuled to face the Men in Blue in the T20I series in Kolkata.
“We are thankful to the honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, chief secretary and Government of West Bengal for announcing resumption of sporting activities as well as for allowing 75 per cent of the capacity of spectators back to the stadium,” Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Avishek Dalmiya said in a statement.
“We feel that it will give a fresh lease of life to the sports persons of the state. After the New Zealand T20I last year, this time too, CAB is confident that it will be able to successfully host the three T20Is against the West Indies in a similar manner,” he added.
Earlier in November, the Eden Gardens had also staged the third T20I against the touring New Zealand with a capacity of 70%.
Notably, in a bid to cut down the travel and the movement of the teams, officials, broadcasters and other stakeholders during the prevalent Covid-19 outbreak in the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had decided to change the schedule for India’s upcoming home series against West Indies.
As per the revised schedule, the six white ball games, featuring three ODIs and as many T20Is, was announced to be held only in Ahmedabad and Kolkata.
Earlier, the six games were scheduled to be held between February 6 and 20 across six venues – Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Cuttack, Visakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram.
Issuing a statement, the Indian board said: “The BCCI today announced a change in venues for the upcoming Paytm West Indies’ Tour of India. The West Indies will arrive here for a white-ball series comprising three ODIs and as many T20Is.”
“The three ODIs will now be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad and three T20Is will be held at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The decision to limit the series to two venues instead of six as originally announced has been done to mitigate biosecurity risks by cutting down on travel and movement of the teams, match officials, broadcasters, and other stakeholders,” it had added.
The board announcement had come after its Tours and Fixtures Committee had recommended that the upcoming three-match One-Day International (ODI) series and the three-match T20I series against West Indies to be played in Ahmedabad and Kolkata.
Meanwhile, reports also suggest that West Indies Cricket don’t have any issues with the last-minute change in venues as the Windies Cricket board had alreay confirmed that they will be happy to accept any changes as long as the strict Covid protocols are followed as their priority is nothing but players’ safety.