World T20 2014 April 6, 2014

Service with a smile

Bangladesh's cricket team may not have impressed many, but their team of volunteers at the World T20 has

Apart from the opportunity to see the world's best, the World T20 has also provided Bangladesh's youth a dose of international exposure. Nearly 500 volunteers have been at work during this tournament, many of them from the country's top colleges and universities.

The first ones you will interact with are at the gates, helping out with every bit of information as you enter. Then there are volunteers inside the galleries and various seating areas. There are volunteers for the media, rights protection (or ambush marketing), hospitality, grounds, broadcast, store, ICC team, sponsors, gallery, medical, ticket, and lost and found.

The hours can be brutal, with two matches every day, in the afternoon and evening. This means the volunteers arrive at the venues around mid-day - even earlier on many days - and stick around till midnight, well after the players and fans leave.

In Dhaka, there have been 207 volunteers, in Chittagong 160 and in Sylhet 125 as part of the 12 departments, according to Tanveer Qamrul Islam, the host tournament director.

"There is nothing like it," Tanveer says. "The World T20 gives these young people international exposure, which will help them in their careers ahead. We have always preferred to pick young men and women, students mostly, for this sort of work.

"So far I have seen them in all three cities, and they have been impressive. Their performance has been good and they are working hard."

Shehreen Khan is in her mid-20s, and has worked in other organisations, particularly teaching underprivileged children, but this was something new for her. She wanted to walk into a sporting arena with the players, and even though she was too old for that role, she didn't have second thoughts when a not-too-dissimilar opportunity came up.

"I have been involved with quite a few youth organisations but this is the first time that am working with BCB," she says. "The best thing about working in the media team is to get to know people from almost all over the world, listen to different accents.

"I always wanted to be one of those kids who walk with the players when the players are entering the field. Since I could never do it, this time when I got the chance to be a volunteer, I just grabbed it. So even if I can never walk with the players like those lucky kids, this voluntary role allows me to be a tiny part of the ICC World T20."

She is one of those in the background, handing microphones to journalists during press conferences, handling meal times in the dining area as well as ensuring someone with good language skills is present at the press box.

The visitors have been left impressed by the efficient nature that has characterised almost every aspect of the tournament. The world wasn't much impressed by the Bangladesh cricket team during the World T20, but those who have visited the stadiums saw just how competent the volunteers are.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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