What do you expect when you walk through a tea garden? Obviously, not a stadium. Well, in the Lakkatura tea garden, you do get one. And even though the tea garden is a treat to the eyes, the stadium somehow manages to surpass it in its own appeal.
Sylhet International Cricket Stadium might just be Bangladesh's most beautiful stadium with an open gallery on one side and finally, the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 has arrived at the enchanting city named Sylhet.
And as always, the people are excited about the tournament. The Business Standard (TBS) talked with the personnel in charge of selling tickets and they answered that a lot of people had already bought tickets, even though the matches were more than 24 hours away at the time of talking. Banners and posters have been put up and wherever you go, BPL is there as a talking point.
TBS talked to some of the fans and ground staff to know how excited they were about the BPL coming to the city of Hazrat Shah Jalal and their answers obviously gave an idea about the hype but also how they were unsatisfied because the action would be here for only three days.
An early ticket buyer, Shimanto Kapali - wait, does that name remind you of someone? Well, it should. Because Shimanto is a relative of Alok Kapali - who originates from Sylhet but is playing for Rajshahi Royals this time around. Shimanto has a soft corner for Alok and Rajshahi, but still is a fan of the local team Sylhet Thunder and was very excited to see them in action.
"We are very excited whenever it comes to Sylhet because then we can enjoy the matches of our team at our own venue and support our players," Shimanto added.
Shimanto also expressed his frustration because he thought that more matches should be held in Sylhet, just like Dhaka and Chattogram. "In Dhaka or Chattogram, they can enjoy the tournament properly because there are a lot of matches. In here, we have fewer games which is frustrating because lot of people can not be present in the field in such a short time," discontent was resolute in Shimanto's voice.
Shimanto might not be happy with only three days of action, but Himel, a class seven student in Sylhet Government High School, was quite content with three days of action and was elated with the fact that he could see his team Sylhet Thunder in action.
"I am very excited about going to the match with my brother. I am a little sad because Sylhet is almost eliminated," Sumon said.
We often hear stories about fans travelling great distances to watch their team play. But who thought that there would be such a group of fans in BPL too? Well, there is.
A group, consisting of 11 friends, have travelled 479 kilometres from Gaibandha, a northern district of Bangladesh to Sylhet to only watch their side Rangpur Rangers pit against Rajshahi Royals. They were delighted to get their hands on the tickets and were confident that Rangpur would qualify for the playoffs.
"Shane Watson is doing well as a captain. Taskin picked up four wickets in the last match, Mustafiz is bowling well. We are confident that they will make it to the playoffs," Rasha, the spokesperson of the group said.
We came to know from the Chairman of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Women's Wing Chairman Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel that the grass of the Sylhet Stadium was blighted with some kind of virus and thus the grass was grown from the scratch, importing seeds from the USA. Mehedi Hasan Munna, who works in the manual scoreboard of the Sylhet Stadium, said that the ground workers had to work day and night to bring the field back to playing conditions.
The people of Sylhet are hyped, the stadium is ready to roll. Fans around the country should be too because Sylhet has been known for its batting-friendly conditions and with the boundaries being short, runs should be flowing. And even though Sylhet are out of the tournament already, the fans have shown that they are ready to turn up to fill the galleries at any given time. This time around, Sylhet has only three days of action. But if you consider the buzz around the place, there should definitely be more.