While the first Test marked the return of international cricket to India after a Covid-enforced break, the second Test is another step in the right direction as fans – even if only at reduced capacity for the time being – will make their presence felt for the first time since the pandemic.
One among them will be Chennai Super Kings‘ ‘super fan’ Saravanan Hari, known for painting his body and face in yellow during IPL matches. While the anticipation for the Test was palpable in his voice, he urged fans to take all precaution.
“I will be going on all five days. It is a very happy occasion for all fans. But first of all, the fans need to watch the game safely. We need to take all the right precautions. I would urge everyone to wear masks,” he told TOI.
The return of fans is being eagerly awaited by both teams as well. Although India did play in Australia where crowds were allowed, it is a different dynamic when fans are cheering for you in your own country.
“We are really excited that there will be fans at the ground for this Test and from here onwards. It means a lot for us to get that support from the crowd. People will come in and enjoy our cricket,” India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said on the eve of the second Test.
England are likely to have some support too, after the ‘Barmy Army‘ tweeted that a couple of them have flown down to Chennai for the game. According to England captain Joe Root, a lively atmosphere within the ground is essential for Test cricket.
“The atmosphere within the ground is something that Test cricket has been missing. To have that back is going to be great. All the players thrive off that atmosphere. To have fans to build up to those big moments within a Test is going to be fantastic. The people in India are so passionate about cricket and that is a side of the game you look forward to as a player. It will be great to see the ground half full,” Root said.