The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has released a long list of strict protocols and guidelines as it prepares to welcome crowds in the MA Chidambaram Stadium for the upcoming second Test match between India and England starting February 13. The visitors defeated the home side by 227 runs in the first match to go 1-0 up in the four-Test series.
The last time crowds were seen in a stadium in the country was 12 months ago, when the Coronavirus pandemic halted all sporting activities not only in India but also across the entire globe. But now with the Indian government and Tamil Nadu state government allowing 50% crowd attendance in the stadiums for sporting activities, even players are excited to see crowds supporting them.
England pacer James Anderson said on Tuesday, they are looking forward to the fans returning as long as all the necessary precautions are taken.
“Since the safety around our bubble at the hotel is so strict, I am sure they are going to take all the right precautions. We look forward to the fans coming in if it is done in a safe way,” Anderson said.
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TNCA’s strict protocols for fans to follow during the second Test match in Chepauk
One of the issues that the TNCA was concerned with was fans touching the ball every time a boundary or a six is hit and then the ball is returned to the field. However, England pacer Anderson said that despite there being no crowd in the stands for the first Test, the ball was always sanitized after a boundary was hit or it had travelled into the stands.
“For the first Test, we had volunteers in all the stands who were returning the ball. Once the ball returned, it was sanitized by the on-field umpires. The player who got his hand on the ball first was also sanitizing his hand. That will continue,” said Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary RS Ramasaamy, who mentioned that the good practice would continue.
He also revealed that crowds will be seated in every alternate chair to maintain social distancing, given that only 50% of the crowd has been allowed inside the venue.
“Volunteers will be on toes to check that all the protocols are being followed. If there is trouble, they will inform the authorities and the problem will be dealt with. We will also have a separate team which will monitor the CCTV footage,” Ramasaamy informed the Times of India.
If anyone is found flouting the rules, s/he will be issued a warning, however, if it is repeated, they will be evicted from the stadium. Temperature checks and hand sanitizing will be carried out at each of the 17 entrance points to the venue, while face masks are mandatory at all times.
“Five medical kiosks have been set up and there will be four ambulances at the ground. We have a medical room with a doctor and an isolation room too. If we find people coughing or sneezing after they enter the stadium, we will move them to an isolation room. We will make sure they get medical attention and are moved out,” the TNCA office-bearer said.
Team India is all set to take on England in the second Test at Chennai from February 13. The TNCA will have to work hard to prevent any mishap.