International cricket will return to India after a coronavirus-forced break with the marquee series against England in February-March next year and the itinerary unveiled on Thursday (10 December 2020) features a Day/Night 'Pink Ball Test' at the reconstructed Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Apart from the day-nighter starting February 24, Ahmedabad will also host the fourth and final Test and five T20 Internationals, the BCCI stated unveiling the 52-day tour's detailed schedule.
The two other venues that have been allotted matches as per BCCI's rotational policy are Chennai, which will be the venue for the first two Test matches (starting February 5), and Pune that will host the three ODIs (March 23 to 28).
"Chennai will also host the second Test while the newly built Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the remaining two Test matches," stated a press release from the BCCI.
"Motera, the largest cricket stadium in the world, boasts of state of the art facilities and a seating capacity of 110,000...The iconic Test will be followed by the 5-match T20I series, which will also be held in Ahmedabad," it added.
England team will finish its two World Test Championship engagements in Sri Lanka (Jan 14-18, Jan 22-26) and fly from Colombo to Chennai on January 27.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah on Thursday announced Motera as the venue for the day/night Test during the Gujarat Cricket Association's Indoor Academy inauguration.
The match will be India's second pink ball Test at home after the Bangladesh game at the Eden Gardens last year.
The last leg of the tour will feature ODIs and all three matches will be held in Pune.
"The BCCI has restricted the tour to just three venues keeping in mind the current pandemic situation prevailing in the country," the statement read.
"Both Boards have worked closely to put together an exciting series that promises to provide high octane action between two powerhouses of world cricket," Shah added.
England and Wales Cricket Board CEO Tom Harrison said he is looking forward to an exciting series.
"We have been delighted with the planning that has been undertaken by the BCCI to ensure the three venues in Chennai, Ahmadabad and Pune will be ready to host international cricket in a bio-secure environment...," he said.
"The prospect of becoming the first international side to play at the magnificent Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad adds an extra dimension to the tour and I know will be something that is a highlight for both the players and management," he added.
A BCCI source explained the rationale behind Pune and Chennai getting matches.
"As per our rotational policy, Pune and Chennai were due to get matches long back. With this series, they would get a chance to host their pending games.
"Also after a lot of deliberation, BCCI's operations team found that these are the three appropriate venues to create bio-secure environment for two teams," the official said.
Since the England team will be travelling from one bio-bubble to another, it would be allowed to train during its week-long soft quarantine in Chennai.
There are no practice matches scheduled as of now and it is understood that since England would have already played two Tests in Sri Lanka, they won't require a warm-up game after landing in Chennai.
The Indian squad members are likely to be given a week's break after they are back from Australia and would again undergo RT-PCR Tests before they enter the bio-bubble in Chennai.
It is understood that a successful hosting of England series would pave the way for a good and successful IPL at home after it had to be taken to UAE this year.
England Tour of India
Wednesday 27 January: Touring party arrives in India
Friday 5-9 February: 1st Test – India v England, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Saturday 13-17 February: 2nd Test – India v England, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Wednesday 24-28 February: 3rd Test - India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Thursday 4-8 March: 4th Test – India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Friday 12 March: 1st T20I – India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Sunday 14 March: 2nd T20I – India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Tuesday 16 March: 3rd T20I - India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Thursday 18 March: 4th T20I - India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Saturday 20 March: 5th T20I - India v England, Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Tuesday 23 March: 1st ODI - India v England, MCA Stadium, Pune
Friday 26 March: 2nd ODI - India v England, MCA Stadium, Pune
Sunday 28 March: 3rd ODI - India v England, MCA Stadium, Pune
Monday 29 March: Touring party departs India.