New Delhi: England will play 12 international matches — four Tests, three One-day Internationals, and five Twenty20s — on their tour of India in February-March, and Ahmedabad will host seven of those, including a pink ball day-night Test. All the matches will be played at only three venues — Chennai and Pune are the others — and in bio-secure environment due to Corona pandemic, it was announced on Thursday.
The tour will be take place between February 9 and March 28, according to the itinerary jointly released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The England team will travel to India straight from Sri Lanka, where they will play two Tests.
The Test series will be part of the World Test Championship (WTC), the last series between the two countries for WTC. The final of the WTC is scheduled be played in June at Lord’s, London.
The tour will begin with a four-match Test series for Anthony de Mello Trophy, the first of which will be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai from February 5-9. Chennai will also host the second Test from February 13-17 while Ahmedabad will host the remaining two Test matches.
The third India-England Test will be played from February 24-28 and will be a day-night affair at Ahmedabad’s refurbished Sardar Patel Motera Stadium, which can accommodate 1,10,000 spectators, though no fans are likely to be allowed inside as the series will be played in bio-secure bubble. The BCCI statement, however, did not specify if spectators would be allowed in.
It will be only the second pink-ball Test in India, after the one played against Bangladesh in Kolkata last year.
The fourth Test will also be played in Ahmedabad from March 4-8.
The Test series will be followed by five T20Is, all to be played in Ahmedabad from March 12 to 20.
The last leg of the tour will feature ODIs and all three matches will be held in Pune from March 23 to 28.
“The BCCI prioritises 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,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
No international cricket has been played in India since the T20 series against Sri Lanka in January. A series against South Africa was abruptly cancelled in March 2020 following the coronavirus outbreak, though the South African team had arrived in India.
England were originally to tour India for three T20Is and as many ODIs in September, but that tour was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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 finalise those plans,” ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison said.
“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,” he said.
Before coming to India, England will tour Sri Lanka for a two-Test series. The first Test will commence on January 14-18 while the second Test will begin from January 22-26 at the Galle International Stadium. They are scheduled to depart from Sri Lanka on January 27.
India are scheduled to travel to England next year in August-September to play a five-Test series. The Tests are scheduled to be played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham (August 4-8), Lord’s (August 12-16), Headingley, Leeds (August 25-29), the Kia Oval, London (September 2-6) and Old Trafford, Manchester (September 10-14).