With rise in COVID-19 cases, remaining T20Is in Ahmedabad to be played without spectators

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Ahmedabad, Mar 15 (PTI) The remaining three T20 Internationals between India and England will be played here without spectators in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, Gujarat Cricket Association vice-president Dhanraj Nathwani said on Monday.

'T20s on March 16, 18 and 20 will be played without audience at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Refund will be given to the spectators who have purchased tickets,' Nathwani said in a statement.

'Due to rise in the number of Corona cases, we at GCA have decided in consultation with BCCI, the matches will be played closed door and not allow the spectators in the ground during T20 Internationals to be played between India and England at Ahmedabad.' Nathwani said the GCA will form policy for refund of money to the spectators who have already purchased tickets for these three T20Is.

'Those who have received complimentary tickets are requested not to visit the stadium,' he added.

The BCCI and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also issued their respective statements after the development.

'The BCCI will continue to comply with all the regulations put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and will always put the health and safety of its fans and stakeholders at the top,' BCCI secretary Jay Shah said.

The ECB added: 'Aside from meaning there will be considerably less noise in the stadium it doesn’t materially affect us as we remain in our bubble and even when crowds were in attendance we never came into contact with any of them, and the ball was sanitised whenever it was hit into the stands.' The first two games at the world's largest cricket stadium had attracted more than 60,000 spectators, raising questions over the safety of the fans amid the pandemic.

Crowds had returned for international cricket matches in India during the preceding Test series barring the opening game which was played behind closed doors. PTI BS PDS PDS