England skipper Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan (pictured) will be taking over from Joe Root as captain for both T20Is and one-dayers. Image Credit: Reuters

Kolkata: The three-match ODI series between India and England in Pune will be played without spectators due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, the state cricket association said on Saturday.

The three matches are slated to be played at the MCA Stadium in Gahunje on the outskirts of the city on March 23, 26 and 28. This, however, may put a question mark about crowd participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL), though it will be held only in April-May.

“Keeping the seriousness of the current spike in COVID cases in Maharashtra, after inputs from the Hon’ble Chief Minister, it was decided that permission will be granted for these matches without spectators,” the Maharashtra Cricket Association said in a media release.

MCA president Vikas Kakatkar, along with its governing council chairman Milind Narvekar, met Chief Minister Uddhavji Thackeray and Tourism and Environment Minister Adityaji Thackeray in connection with the India-England one-day international matches.

The cricket body also said that the chief minister has asked them to take all the necessary precautions with regard to players and officials. “The chief minister requested the President of Maharashtra Cricket Association to take all necessary precautions regarding players and other officials.

“With this, the uncertainty about holding these One-day Internationals, has ended and the Association can start preparatory works like obtaining permissions, for smooth conduct of the matches,” it said.