Fans will reportedly not be allowed to attend the first two Tests to be played between India and England at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium. England will be in India for a full tour that gets underway from February 5 with a four-match Test series.

International cricket is set to return in India following the coronavirus pandemic with England becoming the first team to tour the country. South Africa were the last team in India before the deadly virus upended the cricket calendar with the tourists returning home without playing a single game.

“We have been clearly told by the state administration that crowds will not be allowed inside the stadium. We can’t risk the lives of common people. At the same time it also has to be kept in mind that any untoward incident may put the entire series on the line,” The Telegraph quoted a senior functionary of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association as saying.

Additionally, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is also cautious of not playing with fans inside the stadium. “The ECB is wary particularly after they were forced to abandon the South Africa tour midway once members of the touring party tested Covid positive,” the report quoted the source as saying.

However, Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel Stadium could witness the return of fans.

The report comes after news agency PTI reported that the BCCI is planning to allow 50 per cent spectators for the four Tests. “As of now, we are likely to allow 50 percent spectators for the four Test matches. The BCCI is in talks with both state cricket associations (TNCA and GCA) and also state health authorities,” a senior BCCI source was quoted as saying by PTI.

Allowing spectators for international matches could also open the doors for the IPL 2021 as well should it be played in India. “If you allow 50 percent crowd with all necessary precautions, then it will be an indicator if we can also allow spectators during IPL in India,” the source said.

Indian cricketers will have a busy summer starting with the home series against England that also includes five T20Is and three ODIs as well.