A tale of a nearly forgotten int’l stadium

Atif Azam from Cox’s Bazar

18th February, 2021 09:43:34 printer

A tale of a nearly forgotten int’l stadium

The photo shows the panoramic view of the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar. The insert photos a shabby condition of the gallery as it is not properly maintained. –Tanvin Tamim

There is a serene beauty in the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar and it certainly possesses all the ingredients to be a picturesque venue of the country, though it hardly moves in that direction due to ill maintenance.
“Don’t go through that lane,” someone cried loudly while cautioning a Bangladesh Cricket Board official who had just arrived at the venue to watch the game of Legends Champions Trophy.

The warning sounded like a joke as a portion of tin shed hanging like the kite that often gets hooked in the lamp post with a possibility of falling anytime, but in reality it reflects the state of affair.
The venue got a lease of life through hosting the LCT but that hardly manages to diminish the fact it is yet an unfulfilled dream that began with the women's one-day international between Bangladesh and Pakistan in March 2014.
There was hardly any interest among the cricket fans to turn up at the ground before the ICC Under-19 World Cup matches in 2016 and since then it is used occasionally for the training of women’s and Under-19 team members while some games of High-Performance Unit also took place in the meantime.
The plaster is coming out of the wall in some places while the rooftop is seriously damaged and many believe all this is happening as it is not properly maintained that only raises the question of whether BCB is losing a chance to host international matches in a venue similar to Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

BCB leased 80 acres of land from Cox's Bazar Golf Course -- with the stadium taking up almost 50 acres and initially it was planned the rest of the land will be used for academic buildings, hotels, gymnasiums and swimming pools.
An international standard cricket stadium had been a long-cherished dream of the people of the sea-side town and it was fulfilled by finance from BCB but a lot more work is needed to be done to make it a popular destination for cricket fans all over the world.
BCB officials insisted that they are waiting for government approval regarding the football stadium that is expected to be built adjacent to the venue and afterwards will start working on the project.
“There is expected to be a football ground here and let the government first allocate the football ground and later when we will know how much we can use we will start developing it,” BCB director Ismail Haider Mallick told reporters after inaugurating the LCT tournament.
There are two playing grounds and one practice ground in the surrounding area and 36 pitches provide great practice facilities for cricketers while there was a promise of a complete sports complex but only time can tell whether it will be materialised in future.
According to local residents, hosting the ICC Under-19 World Cup matches definitely enhanced the stature of the stadium but it will only make headlines worthy of its beauty when Tigers play their games here that looks highly unlikely in the present scenario.