Why are there crowds at the cricket in India? Spectators allowed in to 4th Test of India vs England at the Motera

A relaxing of Covid restrictions has allowed limited capacity crowds to return to sporting events in India

By Matt Brooks
Thursday, 4th March 2021, 10:04 am

Viewers tuning in to England's fourth Test match against India in Ahmedabad will have noticed a rare and welcoming sight - fans in the ground.A limited number of spectators have been allowed in to the Narendra Modi Stadium, also known as the Motera, for the third Test match of England's tour of India.

It is the third time England's cricketers have played in front of fans, after a reduced capacity was allowed into the second Test in Chennai, due to the Covid pandemic.

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Cricket fans display tickets for the Test match between India and England. (Pic: Getty Images)

Since the start of the pandemic all of England's international matches have been played behind closed doors.

Why are there crowds at the cricket in India?

As a country, India is beginning a phased lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Decisions made at a state level and within the game’s local authority have led to a limited number of fans returning to sports events in parts of the country.

The restrictions and what is being allowed varies from state to state, with local government's deciding what is possible within its jurisdiction.

The second Test match in Chennai fell under the governing authority of the state of Tamil Nadu, which permitted 50% of the ground’s capacity through the gates.

It saw the numbers capped at 15,000 in Chennai but the numbers increased for the third Test in Motera, which has a capacity of 110,000.

The newly built Motera stadium is the largest cricket ground in the world and will see up to 50% of its capacity crowd allowed in after talks with the Gujarat Cricket Association.

Crowds are also allowed into the fourth Test.

What Covid restrictions are in place in India?

Though India has been hit hard by the deadly virus, with more than 150,000 deaths, the situation appears to be improving across the country.

Fatalities and infection rates have slowed down leading to governments deciding to relax some of the lockdown restrictions that were in place.

Fans are still expected to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing norms and will have their temperatures checked at entry points at the ground.

Social distancing has been hard to enforce as fans queued up for tickets outside the stadium, having ordered them online.

Are there any England supporters there?

Tourist travel to India remains banned under current legislation, meaning only England fans living in India could attend the Test match.

A small group of England supporters made their presence known in Chennai when they belted out a small rendition of the ever-popular Jerusalem.

It was the first time in 12 months that Jerusalem was sung out by fans in the stadium where England's cricketers were playing.

Will there be fans at the fourth Test?

The fourth Test of England's tour of India will be played at the Motera cricket ground in Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat.

The Gujarat Cricket Association gave the green light for the stadium to be filled up to 50% of its capacity for the third and fourth Test matches.

The ground, officially known as the Narendra Modi Stadium, is the largest cricket stadium in the world with a capacity of 110,000.

When will the fourth Test take place?

Following the conclusion of the third Test, England face India at Motera in the third Test from 4 March.

The fourth Test has a start time of 4am (GMT) on each day’s play. All Test matches will be shown on Channel 4.