If you look to the north from the press box, you'll notice a building with a red shed, just like Lord's Cricket Ground, the home of cricket. Not very far, there is a green hillock, better known as the green gallery. Everyone is in awe of the picturesque Sylhet International Cricket Stadium (SICS) which is located right beside the Lakkatura tea state.
The outer ground of the stadium is not far behind in terms of aesthetics. The ground, built last year, has hillocks on one side and tea garden on the other.
But Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, one of the directors of the Bangladesh Cricket Board and general secretary of the Sylhet divisional sports organisation, doesn't want to call it the 'outer ground'. For him, it's the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium-2, as it has been named. It's the first time that two separate stadiums have been built in the same premises in Bangladesh.
But it was in a harrowing state not very long ago. The place used to be full of garbage but now a beautiful stadium has been built there.
The BCB had a lot of plans revolving this very ground. Initially it thought it to be a practice ground but later decided to make a complex and design it as a fully-fledged stadium.
In 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone for the ground. At that time it was named the outer stadium but later renamed to SICS-2. The first competitive match on this ground was held in January last year. So far, a number of Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) and National Cricket League (NCL) have been hosted here.
The stadium has been built on 8.7 acres of land, acquired at a token amount of BDT 1001. The natural touch has been retained; spectators can watch matches sitting on the green grassy areas. The board spent BDT 28 crores to build the stadium.
Four high-quality dressing rooms for the players are there in the stadium as well as a separate dining room. There are facilities like ice baths for the players. Separate rooms have been set up for journalists and match officials. Hospitality box for VIP spectators and guests is also there. An iron bridge has been built to connect the SICS-2 with SICS-1.
Six practice pitches have been made for net practice. The BCB has plans to set up a complex including all the facilities. There will be dormitories, swimming pools, gymnasiums and indoors. A mosque will soon be built for praying. Sylhet has already been way ahead of other divisions in terms of cricket infrastructures. Nadel has a desire to set an example which is evident from the progress.
"I liked the looks of the ground in Mount Maunganui in New Zealand. We wanted to build a stadium like that in Mount Maunganui. We will plant some more trees here and then the stadium will look more beautiful," said Nadel.
"We are planning to build a complex here. The BCB has a plan of setting up an academy in Sylhet. So an academy building will be built. We are talking to the National Sports Council (NSC) about setting up a dormitory for 30-40 people as well. In future, floodlights will be installed here as well," he added.
"Besides the main ground, the BCB will have a lot of matches scheduled on the SICS-2. Apart from that, camps will continue to be held. So the local cricketers won't get much opportunity to train here. For this, we will build another ground for them beside the SICS-2. Cement wickets and turf wickets will be installed there and in three-four slots, 120 to 150 players will have the chance to practice here," mentioned Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel.
The BCB director stated, "It will be a bit ambitious to say that we will build a museum here. We haven't played international cricket for long enough and the number of our achievements is not too many. But we want to set up a museum here which will be enriched as time goes on."