England-New Zealand Edgbaston Test named pilot event by UK government; to accommodate 70 percent crowd

England-New Zealand Edgbaston Test named pilot event by UK government; to accommodate 70 percent crowd

The match will be played in Birmingham from June 10.

The Barmy Army
England players applauded the Barmy Army before leaving the field. (Photo Source: Twitter)

England will host New Zealand in a two-match Test series, starting from June 2. Both sides have different significance for this series, and one can witness a tight contest. While New Zealand will look to adapt the local conditions ahead of the ICC World Test Championship final against India, the Three Lions would not want to disappoint the home crowd. However, apart from cricket action, the series will also be remembered for some other reasons.

The second Test match, which will take place at the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham from 10 to June 14, will be the first pilot event within the second phase of the Government’s world-leading Events Research Programme. The event will be conducted to analyse testing protocols for all spectators, the use of social distancing and face coverings and other factors regarding safety. As part of these government protocols, all ticket holders will need to be aged 16 and over.

Edgbaston ready to welcome fans

“Whilst public health is the priority, the first stage pilots have shown how people can safely start to enjoy the things they love; live sport and music.  It will be great to welcome cricket fans to Edgbaston and give the England team a huge boost as nothing beats the atmosphere that crowds create here,” Stuart Cain, Chief Executive at Edgbaston, said in a statement.

Notably, the Edgbaston stadium will be able to accommodate around 18,000 spectators each day, 70 percent of the total stadium capacity. All of them must have a negative COVID-19 result from an NHS Rapid Lateral Flow Test. The England Cricket Board (ECB) is also planning to invite a larger crowd in the coming months.

“Having crowds back into cricket grounds is so important for the game and for our fans too. The last 15 months have shown just how big a role cricket plays in many people’s lives, and we cannot wait to welcome a growing number of fans back to our stadia over the coming months,” Tom Harrison, Chief Executive of the ECB, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, visitors New Zealand are deemed favourites to win this series as they have been doing exceptionally well in red-ball cricket lately. On top of that, ECB has rested many key players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali for the series. Hence, Joe Root’s men will need a substantial effort to emerge victorious.