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Bangladesh to become an international venue for cricket? (13 November 1998)

Bangladesh to become an international venue for cricket

13 November 1998
Bangladesh to become an international venue for cricket?
By Sa'adi Thawfeeq
Bangladesh may not be quite ready just yet for Test cricket, but there is no denying the fact that they get full marks when it comes to organising a tournament.
The manner in which they conducted their biggest sports carnival, the nine-day mini-World Cup, brought only a shower of praise on them from all quarters.
"It was a well-organised event. This was the first time an event was organised under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Other than for the opening match, every other match was a full house with capacity crowds of 40,000," said Sri Lanka Cricket Board and Asian Cricket Council treasurer Nuski Mohamed, who was one of the distinguished invitees at this mega event.
"From the spectator participation point of view it was brilliant. Few countries could have matched this. The crowd was very responsive to appreciate good cricket, It was gratifying for an associate member, who is an emerging Test-playing nation, to successfuly organise such an event," said Mohamed.
"In the future, it would be a mere formality for Bangladesh to become an international venue for cricket," he said.
The last big event Bangladesh hosted was the Asia Cup in 1988. They are again due to host the tournament in 1999, and if one can use the mini World Cup as a yardstick, it would be another success.
No praise for a non-Test playing nation could have been too high than the one given by ICC chief executive David Richards.
"Bangladesh has everything in it and Bangladesh Cricket Board has proved their worth by successfully organising the Wills International Cup cricket tournament. Its a real success and the organisers have done an extremely great job," said Richards.
"Cricket crowd in this country are wonderful and very supportive to the game. They are knowlegdeable and the facilities are excellent. Bringing the mini World Cup to Bangladesh has projected the image of the country to every corner of the world. Cricket lovers across the world got the idea about Bangladesh and its ability to organise such a major cricket event and saw the infrastructure through television," Richards was quoted by Bangladesh radio.
Millions of TV viewers across the world watched the matches telecast live by WorldTel. The special attractions were the newly installed floodlights and, electronic scoreboard installed at a cost of US$ 600,000.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board president, who is also the Deputy Shipping Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the tournament had enhanced the image of Bangladesh with the ICC recognising the Bangabandhu National Stadium, where all eight matches were played, as one of the international cricket venues. The Bangladesh government contributed US$ 5 million to host the event.
"The facilities here can match the very best in the world. This stadium should host more matches," was the opinion of former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe, who was present for the event as a TV commentator.
The successful hosting of the tournament specially after the century's worst and longest deluge did a lot to enhance the country's profile in the world.
What was so unique in this tournament was that nowhere in the cricketing world would people crowd the venue like the National Stadium to see two foreign teams play.
An editorial in the Bangladesh newspaper 'The Independent' said: "Cricket in this country may not have much to talk about right now, but the huge crowd of cricket lovers is surely an indication of what may happen in the days ahead. Those who love a game will be rewarded with good results today or tomorrow. The Wills Cup created an opportunity for our promising young players to watch the top cricketers of the world live. They should now be convinced that for all their greatness and originality Tendulkar and Lara are but mortals like all of us!"
By winning at Dhaka, the South Africans have added yet another one-day trophy to their impressive collection since they lost the 1996 World Cup quarter-final game to West Indies. Their primary determination is to lift the 1999 World Cup in England, having twice missed out in 1992 and in 1996. They are due to host the World Cup in 2003.
While the spirited West Indies accounted for the exit of the two Asian giants Pakistan and India, South Africa once again proved to be Sri Lanka's nemesis.
The world champions did not have any luck on their side, for after beating New Zealand in the quarter-final largely due to a captain's innings of 90 not out by Arjuna Ranatunga, they fell foul of the weather and to a South African side which showed the consistency in all departments to prevail over all other teams.
'The Independent' editorial summed up Sri Lanka's demise when it commented: "The semi-final match was almost spoiled by rain, and the Lankans found themselves in a very difficult situation after Hansie Cronje's men had amassed a big total. The weather gods could not do justice to the Lankans, and that was perhaps the only sore point in an otherwise keenly contested and very well-organised meet".
Winning at Dhaka is not a clear indication that the same team would win the World Cup next year in England, because the pitches and the conditions are going to be totally different.
Sri Lanka may not have fared to expectations in Dhaka, but they have proved a point by winning the Emirates triangular in England, that they could be up there at the appropriate time.
Source :: Daily News (