India vs South Africa women’s series: Spectators unlikely for first few ODIs

India vs South Africa women’s series: Spectators unlikely for first few ODIs

Fans are unlikely to be allowed for the first few matches of the ODI series between India women’s team and South Africa at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, starting on Sunday.

While the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) had initially thought of allowing at least 25 per cent fans for the series, after a series of meetings with the local administration, it has been decided that a call on allowing the spectators will be decided after the second ODI.

The media, however, will be allowed and the series will have live telecast.

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“It all depends on how the COVID-19 situation remains in the city. For us, the safety of the players and all the stakeholders is of prime importance,” a senior BCCI official, who is aware of the development, told Sportstar.

Hosting international cricket after a while, the UPCA had initially planned ‘free entry’ for fans during the ODI and the three-match T20I series.

Efforts were also taken to ensure that women cricketers from the state could watch the tournament. However, with no ‘go ahead’ from the local authorities, the Board officials are now hopeful that some amount of spectators could be allowed later in the series.

– INDIA STARTS TRAINING –

After being in quarantine, the Indian team had its first training session at the Ekana Stadium on Wednesday. For the team, this will be the first international assignment since last year’s T20 World Cup final – where it lost to Australia. While the team is confident of success, it would be interesting to see how it copes with the situation.

The South African team, which is currently under quarantine, is expected to start its training session from Friday. While this will be India’s first assignment in a year, South Africa comes into the tour on the back of a successful home series against Pakistan.

– SOUTH AFRICA CONFIDENT –

The visiting team’s coach Hilton Moreeng is confident.

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“We know Indian conditions are not easy for any touring team, so we’re expecting them to be tough,” he said during a virtual media interaction.

“Most of us have been exposed to these conditions as well, having come here before. The last visit was not a joyful one because of the way the results went, even though we worked and tried very hard. But we learnt a lot from then and I’m sure that we will see that in the results with a lot of those players in this squad as well,” Moreeng added.

When South Africa visited India the last time in 2019, it lost the ODI series 0-3 and fell to a 1-3 defeat during the T20I leg of the trip. With no idea how the pitch will be, the tourists want to keep all bases covered.

 “It’s the first time we’ll be at this venue, so we’ll assess things once we exit the quarantine on Friday. We’ll then have an idea of what things might look like,” Moreeng signed off.

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