Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Dhaka, 1st day October 22, 2003

Bangabandhu blues

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Tip-toeing through the mud at the Bangabandhu
© Getty Images

The first day of Bangladesh's inaugural Test against England at the Bangabandhu National Stadium was marred by heavy rain which limited play to 15 overs. But the organisation at the ground left locals embarrassed, and the Bangladesh Independent was clear where the blame lay.

"The Bangladesh Cricket Board, despite staging a dozen Test matches in the country, is yet to be well organised," its sports correspondent wrote, explaining that the lack of groundstaff was the reason that play did not resume earlier after the morning downpour. "There were just not enough people about the ground who could help covering the wickets. The groundsmen, with help from young boys, had to rush with the covers from one end of the ground. After completing the task hastily, they had to go the other end to fetch the covers and complete the whole task. Lack of manpower virtually delayed the restart of the match as long as six-and-a-half hours."

That criticism of the hardworking groundstaff might be a little harsh, as the drainage at the Bangabandhu - which many locals flippantly dismiss as being worse than having no drainage at all - is clearly inadequate. "Anywhere in the world, it would have hardly taken two hours to resume the game," said the man from the Bangladesh Independent.

What is needed is for the entire outfield to be dug up and relaid with modern drainage, but there is a reluctance to tackle what will certainly be an expensive and lengthy project. "It confirms that whenever there will be rain," concluded the article," the stadium will be helpless."

It was not only the playing facilities that attracted criticism. The internet connection at the media centre was broken for most of the day, sending journalists scurrying back to their hotels to file their reports.