Protests in Dhaka over absence of matches February 16, 2006

Habibul slams practice facilties

Cricinfo staff

Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh's captain, has slammed the practice facilities at Bogra as his side prepares for the forthcoming series against Sri Lanka.

"Out nets for three days in Dhaka were very poor and it was same in Bogra, Habibul said. "The central pitches where we had our session today was not perfect for practice. It's not good for us the way we are making important net sessions on unfriendly surfaces. Everybody should understand that it is a very important part of a team's preparation. I am really frustrated and I must say we have wasted fours days."

"It is really unfortunate what our captain has told about the facilities," Rafiqul Islam Babu, chairman of the grounds committee, countered. "Still, the team management has not expressed what kind of wicket they needed. Everybody knows that seamers will get some movement in Bogra, so I can't understand why our captain told this."

Meanwhile, hundreds of cricket fans took to the streets to protest about the lack of any Test or ODI matches against Sri Lanka being played in Dhaka. All three ODIs and two Tests will be staged outside the capital because the new stadia being built there will not be finished in time.

The centre of the protests was at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, the previous Test venue in the city. It was always used for a variety of sports and the Bangladesh board (BCB) decided that it needed a purpose-built venues to enable the pitches and outfield to be of as higher a standard as possible.

A recent ICC inspection concluded that the two new arenas in Dhaka were not ready to stage major matches, and so all games were switched to Bogra and Chittagong.