The ECB have confirmed that they’re working with international venues and the Government to increase capacities for England’s ODIs and T20s against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in June and July.
As part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, the second New Zealand Test at Edgbaston saw its capacity increased to 70% – meaning around 18,000 fans could attend each day’s play.
That Test was a historic return for supporters and the Barmy Army, and it seems we could see more games like that this summer.
For the time being, the focus will be on increasing the capacities in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka at the Riverside in Durham (29/06), the Oval (01/07), and the Bristol County Ground (04/07).
The T20 series openers in Cardiff (23/06 and 24/06) are subject to separate discussions with the Welsh government, while the T20 at the Ageas Bowl on the 26th of June will not be part of the programme.
Details on the arrangements for the ODI and T20 series against Pakistan, which gets underway in July after the end of the Sri Lanka series, will be released in due time.
Barmy Army managing director Chris Millard hailed the announcement as a huge positive.
He said: “The ECB’s announcement today is fantastic news and should make our blockbuster summer of cricket even better.
“The Test at Edgbaston was a momentous occasion and proved how important fans are to both the spectacle and the sport.
“It is not yet clear exactly what the exact implications will be on our ticket allocations but we are working hard with the grounds to find out and rest assured we will be in touch with our members once we have more details.”
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden indicated that the decision was due to the vaccine rollout and the massive uptake of the NHS App.
He added: “We will continue to do everything we can to get as many as possible back watching live sport and cultural events as safely and as quickly as possible.”