New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: In wake of the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has decided to organise the remaining three T20 matches between India and England without audience at the Narendra Modi Stadium in the city.

The announcement was made by the BCCI on Monday night after Gujarat Cricket Association vice-president Dhanraj Nathwani said the decision was taken due a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"T20s on March 16, 18 and 20 will be played without audience at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Refund will be given to the spectators who have purchased tickets," Nathwani said in a statement.

"Due to rise in the number of Corona cases, we at GCA have decided in consultation with BCCI, the matches will be played closed door and not allow the spectators in the ground during T20 Internationals to be played between India and England at Ahmedabad."

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Gujarat with 890 new infections reported on Monday with Ahmedabad city contributing 205 of them. The country as a whole registered 26,291 new cases on Monday.

Nathwani said the GCA will form policy for refund of money to the spectators who have already purchased tickets for these three T20Is. "Those who have received complimentary tickets are requested not to visit the stadium," he added.

The BCCI and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) later issued their respective statements.

"The decision was arrived at following detailed discussions with the state and local health authorities," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said. "The BCCI will continue to comply with all the regulations put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and will always put the health and safety of its fans and stakeholders at the top."

The ECB added: "Aside from meaning there will be considerably less noise in the stadium it doesn't materially affect us as we remain in our bubble and even when crowds were in attendance we never came into contact with any of them, and the ball was sanitised whenever it was hit into the stands."

The first two games at the world's largest cricket stadium had attracted more than 60,000 spectators, raising questions over the safety of the fans amid the pandemic.

Crowds had returned for international cricket matches in India during the preceding Test series barring the opening game which was played behind closed doors.

The three-match ODI series in Pune between the two teams beginning on March 23 will also be played in front of empty stands as decided earlier.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta