India vs England: Pune to host ODI series without fans

No fans will be allowed when India takes on England in the three-match ODI series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.

File image of Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune.   -  R. Ragu

No fans will be allowed when India takes on England in the three-match ODI series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, the state association confirmed on Saturday.

With the state witnessing a surge in the COVID-19 cases, there were speculations that the series could be moved out of Pune. However, after a meeting between MCA chief Vikas Kakatkar and Governing Council chairman, Milind Navrekar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and tourism minister Aditya Thackeray, it was decided that the series will go ahead as per schedule, but fans won't be allowed.

READ: Third India-England ODI likely to be shifted to Mumbai

“Keeping the seriousness of the current spike in COVID cases in Maharashtra, after inputs from the Hon’ble Chief Minister, it was decided that permission will be granted for these matches without spectators,” a statement issued by MCA read.

“The Chief Minister requested the President of the Maharashtra Cricket Association to take all the necessary precautions regarding players and other officials. With this, the uncertainty about holding these three ODI matches has ended and the association can start preparatory works like obtaining various permissions.”

Earlier this month, the BCCI had allowed 50 per cent fans to attend the Test matches in Chennai and Ahmedabad. The three-match series is scheduled to begin on March 23.