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India vs Sri Lanka: Fans allowed for Virat Kohli’s 100th Test in late volte face

India vs Sri Lanka 1st Test at Mohali was earlier slated to be played behind closed doors.

India vs Sri Lanka 2022: In a volte face, fans will be allowed upto 50 percent capacity inside the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium for Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match in Mohali, with India taking on Sri Lanka starting from Friday. Jay Shah, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, confirmed on Tuesday evening that the former captain’s landmark game will not be played in front of empty stands, as had been planned earlier.

“The first Test between India and Sri Lanka to be played at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali will not be held behind closed doors,” Jay Shah told ANI. “The decision to allow spectators into the ground is one taken by the State Cricketing Associations and in the present circumstances, is based on various factors.

“I have spoken with the PCA office bearers and they have confirmed that cricket fans will be able to witness the historic moment of Virat Kohli playing his 100th Test match.”

Last Saturday, PCA treasurer RP Singla had said that spectators wouldn’t be allowed for the match. “Apart from the people who are on duty for the Test match, we are not allowing any general spectators as per the directive of the BCCI,” Singla had said.

The decision to keep fans out had attracted criticism on social media, especially after the preceding two T20I matches were played amid cheering stands in Dharamsala.

Following Tuesday’s policy change, Singla said that spectators had now been allowed after the BCCI’s instruction. “We got the communication from the BCCI about the allowing of fans for the first Test match. BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal called us and informed that 50 per cent crowd will be allowed and we are now making necessary arrangements,” Singla told The Indian Express.

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India vs Sri Lanka: Fans allowed for Virat Kohli’s 100th Test in late volte face

“We will allow online sale of tickets from Wednesday onwards as it becomes crowded at the ticket counters at the stadium,” Singla added. “The PCA will ensure that all Covid-19 protocols are followed.”

Jay Shah said that the recent fall in covid cases had allowed hosting associations to let fans enter stadiums. “While we started off the West Indies Tour of India behind closed doors, the encouraging dip in COVID-19 cases allowed the hosting associations to permit crowds. Based on the advisories by the State Health Authorities, fans were able to witness the games in Kolkata and Dharamsala while UPCA had Lucknow T20I without crowds owing to polling a day before the match.

“I am really looking forward to Virat Kohli’s 100th Test and wish our champion cricketer the very best. This is an occasion for our fans to savour. May he continue to represent the country in many more matches to come,” Shah added.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said, “Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match will have no restrictions. BCCI asks the state associations to open up on the basis of government directives. It is as per the government norms.

“Punjab Cricket Association will have crowd as per government norms in Mohali Test. I have spoken to PCA president Rajinder Gupta and there will be no restrictions,” Ganguly told ANI.

Last-minute scramble

On February 15, the Mohali district administration had permitted upto 75 percent capacity for sports complexes. “As per the latest Covid-19 guidelines of the state and the district, sports and all such events are open and there are no restrictions. The only restriction is the bio bubble that too only by the BCCI for the players. The PCA organises the matches and the only role we play as administration is of law and order,” Mohali Deputy Commissioner Isha Kalia told this paper.

The IS Bindra PCA Stadium has a capacity of around 27,000, including ten corporate boxes that can accommodate 1,000. But with the announcement to allow fans coming only two days before the start of the match, the PCA is now running against time.

“This is absolute madness. We have been seeking approval right from the beginning. We were told to play it behind closed doors because of the third wave. Then crowds were allowed in Kolkata and Dharamsala. Earlier, we were told that only corporate boxes would be opened to accommodate players’ families, sponsors, corporates, BCCI and PCA office bearers. The preparation was made accordingly; the last-minute change has caught us off-guard,” a PCA source said. “The arrangements for the corporate boxes were already made. Therefore, it is highly doubtful that the tickets for the corporate boxes will go for sale.

”Meanwhile, India vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah hailed Kohli’s imminent landmark. “It is always a special achievement for a player. It is a testimony to his hard work and to his dedication,” Bumrah said in a press conference on Tuesday. “To play 100 Test matches for your country is a great occasion. He has contributed a lot to the success of the Indian team and will contribute a lot more in the future as well. It is another feather in his cap. I wish him the best and congratulate him on the achievement.”

India vs Sri Lanka 2022: India’s strongest predicted playing XI for first Test

India will be looking to move up in the World Test Championship table with a big victory over Sri Lanka.

India vs Sri Lanka will battle against each other in a Test series after the ongoing T20I series. IND vs SL Test series will consist of two matches. The IND vs SL 1st Test will kickstart on March 4 (Friday). The venue of the clash is IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. India has already won the T20I series against Sri Lanka after winning the opening two games.

India will also aim to defeat Sri Lanka in the Test series so as to better its standings in ICC World Test Championship 2021-22 points table. Rohit Sharma is the new Test skipper for India and will lead the team in IND vs SL Test series. Here we talk about India’s predicted playing XI for the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Rohit Sharma (C)

Rohit Sharma has been nominated as the Test skipper of India and will lead the team inIndia vs Sri Lanka 1st Test. India vs Sri Lanka will be the first Test project for Sharma, who is now the skipper of the team across three formats.

It’s been a long time since Sharma played a Test match. He last played a Test match against England at The Oval last year in September where he slammed a 127-run knock.

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