India vs West Indies: Ahmedabad, Kolkata confirmed as venues; no spectators allowed

Fans won't be allowed due to the COVID-19 situation as the Narendra Modi Stadium and Eden Gardens get ready to host the ODIs and T20Is series respectively.

Narendra Modi Stadium

General view of the Narendra Modi Stadium.   -  The Hindu

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has confirmed to Sportstar that fans won't be allowed for the West Indies series, which will start with India's 1000th ODI in Ahmedabad.

With the COVID-19 cases still rising in several parts of the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to restrict the entire WI series to just two venues - Ahmedabad and Kolkata.

“(There will be) no fans,” Ganguly said on Saturday.

A couple of days ago, the BCCI’s tours and fixtures committee had recommended the venues for the West Indies series should be cut down amid the rising COVID-19 cases and left it to the BCCI office-bearers to take the final decision.

“Yes, the West Indies series will be played in Ahmedabad and Kolkata. The ODI series will be in Ahmedabad and T20Is (at Eden Gardens),” Ganguly confirmed.

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Officials at the Cricket Association of Bengal and Gujarat Cricket Association also confirmed they have been asked to host the series in empty stadiums. 

"There will be a strict bio-bubble keeping the current situation in mind," a state unit official said.

Earlier, the Board had decided to host the series across six venues - the ODIs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kolkata and T20Is in Cuttack, Visakhapatnam, and Thiruvananthapuram - but after several discussions, it was decided the schedule be tweaked to avoid travel and maintain a strict bio-bubble.

As per the original plan, the ODIs were to be played on February 6, 9 and 12. While the first two matches will go ahead as scheduled, the final ODI will now be played on February 11. The T20Is were scheduled to be played on February 15, 18 and 20, but now, the T20I series will begin on February 16. The other two games, however, will go ahead as scheduled.

Earlier, several reports suggested the BCCI was looking at Ahmedabad and Lucknow as venues, but with Uttar Pradesh heading into the Assembly Elections, the Board decided to go ahead with Kolkata.

The West Indies team is scheduled to reach Ahmedabad on February 1 and then undergo a mandatory isolation till February 3. While two training sessions are scheduled on February 4 and 5, the first game - which will be India’s 1000th men’s ODI - is to be played on February 6.

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