Sylhet awaits World T20 fate
ICC inspection team arrives todayStaff Correspondent
The fate of the Sylhet Divisional Stadium hosting the ICC World Twenty20 matches could be sealed when a high-level ICC inspection team will visit the stadium to see the progress of its development work.
The ICC delegation, which includes event director Chris Tetley, stadium consultant Eugene Van Vuuren, event manager Dhiraj Malhotra and chief curator Andy Atkinson, will arrive today to inspect the World Twenty20 venues.
The arrival of the ICC team follows the visit of another high-level delegation, headed by chief executive officer David Richardson, which was in the city to submit the Bangladesh Premier League match-fixing report.
Bangladesh Cricket Board officials said this visit is equally crucial as it is directly related to the image of the country. The ICC at its last annual general meeting expressed concern over the Sylhet and Cox’s Bazar stadium, which will host part of the men’s and women’s matches of the World Twenty20.
The tournament is scheduled to be held from March 16 to April 9, 2014 with Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Chittagong’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium and Sylhet Divisional Stadium being touted as the hosts for the men’s event.
The BCB has earmarked Cox’s Bazar stadium for all matches of women’s event.
As the ICC has some reservations about Sylhet and Cox’s Bazar, the BCB said it has prepared Fatullah stadium and BKSP as alternative venues.
The inspection will begin on Saturday with the SBNS and BKSP before the ICC team goes to Fatullah and Sylhet, though BCB’s chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury said the schedule can be changed depending on the wish of the ICC inspection team.
‘We have not finalised any schedule yet,’ said Chowdhury. ‘A lot will depend on how they would like to see the venues. However, we have completed all other works.
The BCB chief executive said some important works at the Fatullah stadium had been completed before the Eid-ul-Fitr break and they should satisfy the ICC team.
‘Fatullah is our alternative venue and it is now almost ready. If they cannot be satisfied with Sylhet there should not be any concern,’ he said.
One major concern about the Sylhet venue is the five-story grandstand, which the BCB’s grounds and facilities manager Abdul Baten said is only half-completed.
The ICC team could visit Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar on August 20, said the officials.
While there is no concern about the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Bangladesh’s one of the major Test venues, which also hosted the 2011 World Cup matches, officials cannot provide any guarantee about Cox’s Bazar.
A temporary structure is being made near the golf course in the beach town, but there is little progress. BCB’s grounds and facilities manager Baten said they could only prepare the pitches but could not sow the grasses in the outfield.
‘With the help of army we have already made some major progress. Only there are no grasses in the outfield. From tomorrow [Friday] we will start sowing grasses too. Hopefully, the ICC team will see some greens when they will arrive,’ he said.
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