Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium
New look, latest facilities for cricket
Kausar Islam Ayon
The renovation work of Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to turn it solely for cricket has begun and the authorities hope to hold international matches there from early next year.
The authorities said the stadium would look similar to the Lords in England. It will be equipped with all modern cricketing facilities and be far more advanced than Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS).
The President of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Ali Asghar Lobi said: "This will be the best stadium in the Indian subcontinent in terms of looks and facilities."
He said an Australian specialist Gramme Watson will supervise the work on the stadium.
The decision to shift the cricket venue to Mirpur came after a long-drawn battle between two main sports federations -- football and cricket -- over the possession of the BNS. Finally, cricket gave up its right over and now the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla Stadium has been permanently earmarked for the game.
The last international cricket match at BNS -- the fifth one-day international between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe was held on January 31, 2005.
"We are at present preparing the pitch and once it is ready we will remove the existing synthetic track from the ground," said Rafiqul Islam Babu, vice-chairman of the grounds and facilities management committee of the BCB.
He said eight pitches are being prepared -- four for international matches and the rest for domestic cricket.
"We are making these pitches with local soil that has been tested by experts in Australia who confirmed that the quality of our black soil is excellent," said Babu.
A new electronic scoreboard will be installed in this stadium and the floodlights from the BNS will be shifted here.
"We also have a plan to install a large TV screen," said Babu.
He said the press and commentary boxes will have the latest technological facilities while the hospitality boxes and pavilion will be located at the south end of the stadium.
"The consultants are also contemplating on constructing two balconies in keeping with the style at the Lords stadium," said Babu.
Shops, around a hundred, that currently fringe the stadium on the outside would be shifted from their present locations ensuring security to the stadium.
"The shops around the BNS had to be kept shut for security reasons during India's last tour, causing businessmen heavy losses. We would not want a repetition of shut-downs," said Babu adding that the BCB authorities have already requested the National Sports Council (NSC) to relocate these shops and the NSC has already started groundwork on this.
"We want to make use of the whole stadium compound, even the outer circle to facilitate cricket," said Babu.
A museum to preserve the history of Bangladesh cricket will be set up at the stadium.
"A cricket museum is now the demand of time and we have plans for that. The museum will preserve all the possible documents of Bangladesh cricket," said Babu.
Secured car parking, food stalls in the gallery and a bar for corporate guests will also be added to the stadium.The BCB office too, presently housed at the BNS will be shifted to Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.
Source: Daily Star