The England Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the schedule for England’s tour of India next year. It will kick off with the 4-match Test series for the Anthony De Mello Trophy. The first two Tests will be played in Chennai while both teams will travel to Ahmedabad for the other two. The First Test will begin on the 5th of February, only a few days post England’s proposed tour of Sri Lanka.
The newly constructed Motera Stadium, the largest in the world with a 110,000 capacity will also host India’s second pink-ball Test under the lights. India’s pink ball debut against Bangladesh last year turned out a huge success, prompting either cricket boards to plan this Day/Night affair. The iconic Test will be played from the 24-28th of February.
Test series will be followed by a limited-overs leg, consisting of 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs. The shortest format will be played at Ahmedabad before the teams move down to Pune for the 3 ODIs. The number of venues was restricted to three considering the pandemic situation around the country and the risk associated with the travel. Though a bio-bubble establishment is a certainty, it is still unclear whether the games will be played behind closed doors.
England Tour of India: Boards Speak
Mr. Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI said:
“The BCCI prioritizes the health and safety of both teams and will leave no stone unturned to make sure that the tour is held adhering to all safety protocols agreed by the BCCI and ECB medical teams. Both Boards have worked closely to put together an exciting series that promises to provide high octane action between two powerhouses of world cricket. This will be India’s first bilateral series at home since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the home season will bring back joy to cricket fans.”
Mr. Tom Harrison, CEO, ECB said:
“International cricket between India and England is a highlight of the cricketing calendar and always attracts significant levels of interest from fans around the world. We have been delighted with the planning that has been undertaken by the BCCI to ensure the three venues in Chennai, Ahmadabad and Pune will be ready to host international cricket in a bio-secure environment and look forward to working closely with them over the coming weeks to finalize those plans. The prospect of becoming the first international side to play at the magnificent Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad adds an extra dimension to the tour and I know will be something that is a highlight for both the players and management.”
The series was originally slated to be held in mid-2020 but had to be postponed given the COVID19 pandemic. Earlier, BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly had said that 2 extra T20Is will replace the 5th Test match in order for both teams to prepare for the 2021 T20 World Cup, also to be held in India later that year.
Overall, the dawn of 2021 has already brought positive news and one hopes, cricket and the cricketing world only build forward.