The BCCI has announced the itinerary for England’s tour of India 2021 starting early next year. This will be the first time India will be hosting a bilateral cricket series since the global COVID pandemic last year. As a result of the pandemic, even this year’s IPL had to be shifted to UAE after quite a delay. The confirmation of the tour has a few further ramifications, but more on that later.
England shall be playing 4 test matches for the Anthony de Mello Trophy. This would be followed by 5 T20 International matches and 3 ODI matches. This year’s tour shall kick off from February 5th, when the first test match shall be held at Chennai.
Owing to the ensuing pandemic situation, there have obviously been certain measures put in place in relation to the location the matches are being held. Both the teams shall not be travelling the length and breadth of the country as the BCCI has exclusively put up bio-bubbles to ensure that chances of the disease spreading are minimized.
Match Location and Details
Apart from the first test being held in Chennai, even the second test shall be held at the same venue. The third test match to be held at Ahmedabad shall be a pink-ball Test, which would indicate that the test match would be a day-night match. To add to that, even the fourth test shall be played at Ahmedabad; however, it shall not be a day-night event.
In keeping with the bio-bubbles in place, all the 5 T20 International matches shall be played at Ahmedabad from 12th March to 20th March. The tour shall end with the ODI series being played out at Pune. All the ODI matches would therefore be held at Pune.
In keeping with the rotational policy used by the BCCI to determine the venue for the locations, it was noted that Pune had missed out on matches previously, and thereby the decision to host all the ODIs there was agreed upon.
Furthermore, an official also confirmed that after a series of discussions, BCCI’s operations team found that the venues chosen were the best places to create bio-bubbles. Reassuring both the fans and the teams, BCCI secretary Jay Shah noted, “The BCCI prioritises health and safety of both teams and will leave no stone unturned to make sure that the tour is held adhering to all safety protocols agreed by the BCCI and ECB medical teams.”
This assurance was keeping in line with the fact that the preparations were made after extensive consultations between the BCCI and ECB’s medical teams.
Given the unexpected way the pandemic suddenly shut down activity across the globe, maybe fans can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel if the upcoming tour is held without any incident. Since England’s tour of India ends on 28th March, it also raises questions on the feasibility of hosting the next edition of the elite IPL here in India.
While BCCI has not yet given any confirmation on that front, the upcoming series could act as a precedent of sorts for the feasibility of hosting the IPL in the country. For the moment, we can just wait and watch. Here’s a table of the schedule of the upcoming series
England’s tour of India, 2021 – Test series
|1||5th – 9th Feb||1st Test||Chennai|
|2||13th – 17th Feb||2nd Test||Chennai|
|3||24th – 28th Feb||3rd Test (D/N)||Ahmedabad|
|4||4th – 8th March||4th Test||Ahmedabad|
England’s tour of India, 2021 – T20I series
|1||12th March||1st T20I||Ahmedabad|
|2||14th March||2nd T20I||Ahmedabad|
|3||16th March||3rd T20I||Ahmedabad|
|4||18th March||4th T20I||Ahmedabad|
|5||20th March||5th T20I||Ahmedabad|
England’s tour of India, 2021 – ODI series
|1||23rd March||1st ODI||Pune Stadium|
|2||26th March||2nd ODI||Pune Stadium|
|3||28th March||3rd ODI||Pune Stadium|