A friendly T20 cricket match was organised on Saturday to mark the occasion of the inauguration of Udayachol Park and playground at Iqbal road at Mohammadpur in the capital.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh took part in the friendly match.
Players of both teams were present on the field even before the sun rose amidst the morning fog.
The DNCC team was led by its Mayor Atiqul Islam while Nitish Birdi from the High Commission captained the Indian team.
Mayor Atiqul's team emerged victorious, defeating the Indian HC team by 172 runs.
The Indians won the toss and elected to field first. The DNCC team scored 300 runs for five wickets after 20 overs, consisting of two centuries (Emon 105 and Al Amin 101). Mayor Atiqul managed 8 runs, including a boundary.
However, the Indian team was bundled out with 128 runs in 13 overs.
"When we were children, we used to collect money from homes in our neighbourhood to buy a cricket bat or pad, which were quite expensive for kids like us. But community spirit was strong then, and this social bonding is fast becoming a relic of the past," said Mayor Atiqul, while addressing the inaugural session as the chief guest.
"We have to ensure that our children can play. Sports strengthen social bonds, which is why I want to present this field to the people of this area. Everyone can play in this field - big or small, rich or poor, men or women," he added.
Reminiscing on his childhood, Bangladesh Cricket Board Chairman Nazmul Hassan Papon said, "I spent around 11 years in the Mohammadpur area with my family. I've been fond of sports since childhood and was a member of Udayachol club. I used to run to the field every day after coming home from school."
"Now there is a scarcity of playgrounds in the city. The children no longer go out to play games. But this was not the case when we were younger – in fact, it was completely the opposite," he added.
Indian High Commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami said, "Ensuring quality of life in a city means having facilities for everyone. These must be accessible and should have public participation."
Architect Iqbal Habib, planner of the park, said, "Thanks to this initiative of the city corporation, the children are getting their playground back. Everyone, regardless of age and socioeconomic background, will be able to use the park."
The playground was renovated under a project titled 'Modernisation, development and greening of open spaces of Dhaka North City Corporation' at an estimated expense of Tk4.6 crore.
Local lawmaker Sadek Khan was present at the event, among others.