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IPL 2022 - Maharashtra likely to allow 25 percent capacity crowd


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On Sunday (February 27), the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association in Dharamsala accommodated over 10,000 spectators and the BCCI is hoping to continue with the trend. Although the immediate game - a Test against Sri Lanka from March 3 in Mohali, incidentally the 100th Test of Virat Kohli - will not see crowds at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium, the second Test in Bangalore will have spectators at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has confirmed that 50 percent crowds - about 15,000 -- will be allowed for the March 13-17 Test against Sri Lanka.

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and Maharashtra Cricket Association (MHCA), which will be hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 in Mumbai and Pune, will also be filling in crowds in the grounds. Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray met MCA officials on Sunday (February 27) and promised all help for the IPL and agreed to allow 25 percent of crowds. The government is also encouraged by the latest Covid numbers - only two deaths reported in Mumbai in the last 24 hours and less than 1000 new cases, lowest since 2020. Mumbai will be hosting 55 games while Pune will have 15 games.

Just about 24 months ago, an ODI, against South Africa, had to be postponed, albeit because of rain, with the spectre of Covid 19 looking large on the three-match series. The next two games, which were to be played in Lucknow and Kolkata, in that order, were called off because the visiting team refused to play because of the fast spreading Coronavirus situation in the country. But with the latest development, things are definitely looking bright going ahead.

"Yes, we have come a full circle," Arun Singh Dhumal, the treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told Cricbuzz after the completion of two back to back Twenty20 Internationals at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala. "It has set a new template for Indian cricket. There is no looking back," Dhumal said.

"It was in Dharamsala where the Covid threat to Indian cricket started in 2020. It halted the game there. Subsequently the matches in Lucknow and Kolkata also got called off due to the Coronavirus threat. We are glad that cricket with crowds got revived from Dharamsala itself. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the crowds for both the games. I hope there is no stopping Indian cricket from here," the BCCI treasurer said.

Since that March 12, 2020, washout in Dharamsala, Indian cricket moved rather gingerly, twice moving the Indian Premier League (IPL) -- full or a part of it - to UAE and also shifting the Twenty20 World Cup to the Desert Kingdom. In between it hosted a few series (versus England, New Zealand, West Indies and now Sri Lanka) but with a lot of caution and restraint

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