~~Sher-e-Bangla strip a batting paradise~~

Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dhaka:The spectators at the Sher-e-Bangla Jatiya stadium are in for a runfest on May 10, if curator Badiul Alam Khokon is to be believed.

Khokon, busy giving final touches to the track, said, ''The wicket would be hard and flat. I won't keep any of the grass on the 22-yard and hence it should be a batsman's paradise.''

''One-day cricket is basically a batsman's game. Spectators want to see big scores. It will be a perfect batting track that way,'' Khokon told reporters.

Incidentally, the venue has yielded 250 plus score whenever a game has been held here and Khokon feels coming Thursday will be no exception.

The stadium, a mini bowl, is like a tortoise's back with a lush green outfield and seating capacity of around 30,000 spectators. Renovations are on to match the stadium for the 2011 World Cup's opening ceremony.

''We have temporarily stopped the renovation work because of Thursday's match. Work will resume after that,'' Khokon said.

The facility at Mirpur, originally a football and athletics venue, has been converted into an exclusively cricket facility two years ago keeping in mind the popularity of the game in the recent past.

The stadium will also house the National Cricket Academy of Bangladesh.

''Allthrough the year, we have different tournaments at both academy and junior levels. For this match, we have been working on the strip for the last ten days,'' said Khokon.

The stadium would also host the second match of the series on Saturday. While the first match will be played on pitch number four, the second will be played on pitch six.

Rain is also not a problem for the ground that has a subsoil of sand and gravel and a well laid network of channels to carry the water to the pits.

''If it rains overnight then also the ground will be ready for the match on time,'' he added.

A giant screen is being put up for the two matches, but the stadium was yet to have an electronic scoreboard. Keeping the heat in mind, the authorities are also erecting temporary 'shamiyanas' (awnings).

India play Bangladesh the first two ODIs here before moving to Chittagong for the third ODI.


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