Bangladesh's cricketing nerve centre
The capital and largest city in Bangladesh, Dhaka is the country's cricketing hub. The Bangabandhu National Stadium was the city's international venue for many years, before the action shifted to the Shere Bangla National Stadium (SBNS) in Mirpur, a suburb of Dhaka, in 2006. The SBNS is the new, proud home of Bangladesh cricket. It also houses the Bangladesh Cricket Board-operated National Cricket Academy which churns out several promising cricketers. The academy uses the facilities at the SBNS at present, and is set to get its own state-of-the-art centre very soon.
The city has a number of private cricket academies, including the government-run Bangladesh Institute of Sports (BKSP) where cricket is one of its major sports.
The SBNS is situated about 10 kilometres outside the centre of Dhaka. The move from the Bangabandhu to Mirpur was met with much resistance, but the BCB had decided they needed a stadium dedicated exclusively to cricket, and carried on despite criticism. The venue is more than just a cricket ground. The triangular space underneath the stands has been used to the maximum, rented out as shop space. It houses perhaps the biggest furniture market in Dhaka. The shops shut when an international match is in progress. The grassless plot next to the venue is used for several simultaneous tape-ball games every evening and morning. The most striking feature of the ground is the impressive drainage facility.
The stadium is undergoing a renovation ahead of the World Cup. The city has the privilege of hosting the opening ceremony on February 18, as well as the first match, between Bangladesh and India. It will host three more Group B games, as well two quarter-finals.
Great matches (Only two ODIs have been played at the new stadium)
Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, 5th ODI, December 2006
Bangladesh were made to sweat chasing a modest 194 and it was left to their captain Habibul Bashar to show the way with an ice-cool knock. They were coasting to victory before a middle-order collapse, orchestrated by Gary Brent, pegged them back. Bashar marshalled the lower order and saw his team to a 5-0 sweep.
Bangladesh v New Zealand, 1st ODI, October 2008
One of Bangladesh's more special wins against a major nation. It turned out to be quite a cakewalk with them coasting home by seven wickets after restricting a sorry New Zealand to 201. Mashrafe Mortaza did the early damage with a four-wicket haul, while Junaid Siddique and Mohammad Ashraful were the heroes with the bat, hitting 85 and 60 respectively.
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, tri-series, January 2009
The match that brought out the best in Shakib Al Hasan, the batsman. The game was almost a non-starter due to morning fog and bad light, but the elements were kind enough to allow a shortened 31-over game. After restricting the Sri Lankans to 147, the hosts started poorly, losing three for 11. But Shakib unfurled some brutal drives and sweeps against the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan to score an unbeaten 92 off just 69 balls, giving the crowd plenty to cheer after a frustrating morning.
The stadium is the home base of Dhaka Division, one of the leading first-class sides in the country. They have won the National Cricket League first-class competitions in 2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05, and 2006-07. They also won the one-day competition in 2006-07.