World's biggest cricket stadium to host India-England Tests

By: AFP      Published: 08:43 PM, 10 Dec, 2020
World's biggest cricket stadium to host India-England Tests

England are slated to play two Tests in the world's biggest cricket stadium when they travel to India next year, but the stands may be empty due to coronavirus restrictions, authorities said Thursday.

The England-India fixtures in the 110,000-seat Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad will be the first held in the state of the art facility -- so far better known for hosting a mega rally by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump in February.

But authorities in the country with the world's second highest coronavirus caseload will not decide whether the matches will be played in front of spectators until January, a cricket official in Gujarat where the mega-stadium is located, told AFP.

England will play two Tests behind closed doors in Sri Lanka in January before heading to India for the four-Test series to make up for matches cancelled due to the epidemic.

The opening Test will begin on February 5 in Chennai. The second Test will also be held in Chennai, with the final two slated for Ahmedabad.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said the prospect of becoming the first international side to play at the stadium "adds an extra dimension to the tour".

The Test series between the two nations could become key in deciding which team reaches the World Test Championship final.

Australia lead the nine-nation inaugural league with India second and England third. The top two will go into the final next year at Lord's.

The Tests will be followed by five Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals.

Ahmedabad will remain host for the T20 games while Pune will host the ODIs.

England's original limited-overs tour to India in September-October and the T20 World Cup in October-November were both shelved amid the pandemic.