Chennai cricket fans have something to be pleased about, finally, with Test cricket returning to the city after a gap of three years. The MA Chidambaram (MAC) Stadium has hosted just three of India’s international matches—one Test against Australia in October 2013 and two ODIs, against Pakistan in 2012 and South Africa in 2015—following the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, reminding you about the paucity of matches at this famous Indian cricket venue and the frustrations endured by the fans in not getting chances to see their superstars in action.
Owing to the unauthorised construction of the I, J and K stands at the MA Chidambaram (MAC) Stadium, they have remained closed for a vast majority of the matches hosted by this venue since it underwent renovation ahead of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. The Chennai Corporation, from whom the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) failed to acquire planning permission and approval for construction of these three stands, and the Supreme Court have not budged to TNCA’s pleas to make the stands accessible for fans, and this, in turn, has resulted in a significant reduction of international and Indian Premier League (IPL) matches hosted by the MAC Stadium.
The three “locked and sealed” stands were the reason why the men’s ICC World Twenty20 (WT20) 2016 matches were not held at Chepauk, after an International Cricket Council (ICC) team of officials raised concerns over this long-standing matter. And, with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) suspended from playing the ninth and tenth editions of the IPL, the Chennai cricket fans have every reason to feel upset and hard done by.
India are currently involved in a four-Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean, and upon their return, have a long home season ahead, with New Zealand, England, Australia, and Bangladesh set to tour India.
The stands closure, however, was not an obstacle in the MAC Stadium going on to be announced as the venue for the fifth Test between India and England, by the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) tour program and fixtures committee. The Test match in Chennai will be played from December 16th (Friday) to 20th (Tuesday), 2016.
With the fifth India-England Test starting on the eve of a weekend, the Chennai cricket fans can watch the whole of days two and three, at least, live at the venue, which can also be expected to have capacity crowds on that Saturday and Sunday. A lot will, however, depend on how the TNCA sells tickets and how the ticket issuance information is passed to the public. In the past, only a small portion of the tickets have tended to be sold at the stadium counters while the majority have tended to be sold online and Chennai cricket fans have also suffered from a lack of proper communication and ticket issuance by the TNCA. The cost of season tickets should be quite affordable, though the demand for them should be quite high as well, consequently.