After almost a year’s wait, Women in Blue will finally play an international series. India will host South Africa for a five-match ODI series and a three-match T20I series. The bilateral series will be played between March 7 and March 28. All eight games will be played at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
As the first ODI is just a stone’s throw away, the recent update is that at least the first two ODIs will be played behind closed doors, which means that the fans will not be allowed inside the stadium. The reason for this is quite obvious and that is the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
As per the local administration, fans will not be allowed at the stadium during India-South Africa women’s series for the initial games.
It has been decided that a call on allowing the spectators will be decided after the second ODI.
Source: Sportstar #INDvSA
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) March 4, 2021
The host state cricket association which is the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) had initially thought of allowing 25 percent (of the capacity) fans for the series. However, after a series of meetings with the local administration, it has been decided that a call on allowing the spectators will be decided after the second ODI.
While the fans will not be allowed inside the stadium, there is some respite for the media, which will be permitted inside. Also, the fans can enjoy the match from their homes as the series will have a live telecast.
“It all depends on how the COVID-19 situation remains in the city. For us, the safety of the players and all the stakeholders is of prime importance,” a senior BCCI official, who is aware of the development, told Sportstar.
The UPCA which will be hosting international cricket after quite some time had initially thought of keeping ‘free entry’ for fans during the five-match ODI and the three-match T20I series. Additionally, efforts were also taken to ensure that women cricketers from the state would be allowed inside the stadium so that they could get the opportunity to watch the tournament. However, as of now, all the plans made by the state association will have to be kept on the back burner since it has not received a ‘go ahead’ from the local authorities. The Board officials and fans can only be hopeful that some amount of spectators could be allowed at least from the third ODI.