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Cricket is open once more, crowds line up at Chepauk: ‘Chennai always a Test city, long gap was painful’

# Rama Subramanian, 64, has been watching Tests at Chepauk since 1975. By distinction, Gopinath, who is in his forties, and his son Ajith, will probably be at the venue for the primary time to observe a Test.

# Mythily has been a common at the Indian Premier League (IPL) fixtures at Chepauk. She wished to be within the stands for the second India-England Test that begins on Saturday – when cricket welcomes again spectators to the bottom after a 12 months of Covid-enforced hiatus.

# Kamraj, a middle-aged software program engineer and Test cricket nerd, hasn’t missed a five-day fixture at Chepauk for the reason that India-Australia tied Test in 1986.

The followers all stood in queue for hours on Friday, baking within the solar, ready to gather the tickets that that they had booked on-line.

A day by day turnout of round 14,000 is anticipated at the stadium after the Tamil Nadu authorities gave the go-ahead for 50 per cent occupancy at sports activities occasions – a full home would have meant a little over 33,000 followers. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has capped the quantity at the stadium at 15,000.

Chennai is India’s oldest Test centre. The IPL went to the United Arab Emirates final 12 months, and followers now have the primary alternative to return to the stadium.

“I haven’t missed a Test at Chepauk since 1975, when I fell in love with cricket, thanks to Gundappa Viswanath’s 97 not out against the West Indies. India won the match. Fortunately, we have two Tests here, which saved my sequence,” Subramanian who takes delight in his ‘record’, stated.

The TNCA bought tickets for the match on-line, however patrons needed to are available particular person to gather them. “It’s a bad system. When I have bought my ticket online, why shall I stand in the queue to redeem it? I have no problems standing in the queue to enter the ground,” the veteran of many Tests stated.

The affiliation has bought tickets for 9 blocks, for between Rs 100 and Rs 450 per day. “There are 17 entrances to the stadium, all of which will be manned to check people’s temperature, and to make sure everybody is wearing a mask. Hand sanitisers will be available. There will be at least one seat between two spectators. There will be medical kiosks around the ground, and a medical room with a doctor. There will be an isolation room, in case somebody is detected with a temperature or any other symptoms. The bio-bubble area will be completely cordoned off,” TNCA secretary RS Ramasaamy informed The Indian Express.

The first Test, which India misplaced by 227 runs, was performed behind closed doorways. Two Tests of the continued four-match collection are being performed in Chennai; Ahmedabad will host the subsequent two.

Gopinath or his son Ajith didn’t thoughts taking the difficulty of queuing up. The pleasure of their debut Test, viewing-wise, overrode the negatives. “My son is a Dhoni fan. Last year, we missed the IPL. So he insisted that we should be present for this Test. We will come for a day,” Gopinath stated.

Mythily is coming primarily for Washington Sundar, a son of the soil, who has taken to Test cricket like a duck to water – two half-centuries in his first two Tests.

“Covid cases in Chennai have decreased and hopefully the officials at the stadium will be vigilant enough to ensure all safety protocols are adhered to,” she stated.

Lockdown apart, Test cricket has returned to Chennai after greater than 4 years. The final Test right here earlier than this collection was performed in 2016; Karun Nair scoring an unbeaten triple century to set up India’s win towards England.

“Chennai has always been a Test city and the long gap was painful. I come for Test cricket only. I have been coming since the tied Test. I have never been to the ground for an IPL match, and I hope India will bounce back to square the series,” Kamraj stated.

The first day of ticket redemption was chaotic. Fans thronged counters, disobeying security protocols. “There was some confusion. Fans thought that physical tickets could be redeemed on February 11. But we announced that tickets could be redeemed from February 11 onward. The issue has been sorted out now… We expected a big response after a long break, especially because the number of entries is limited,” Ramasaamy stated.

At the Wallajah Road and Bells Road interjection, ‘Dhoni Sports’, a sports activities items retailer, overlooks the stadium. Arif, the shop supervisor, is an ardent Dhoni fan as is the proprietor, Syed. Arif often avoids the ‘tedium’ of Test cricket. For this Test although, he gained’t thoughts getting a ticket, if one is out there, he says.

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