After play wash out, officials ask why Chittagong was given match

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali


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Chittagong : With the rains badly affecting the first India-Bangladesh Test match in this port city, experts are wondering why Bogra, a northern Bangladesh city with clean weather at this time of the year, was not allotted the match.

They say that Chittagong was allotted the match due to Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) politics.

Rains have prevented a total of 173 overs of play on the first three days of the first five-day Test at the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium, including a complete washout Sunday. On Tuesday, the third One-day International was abandoned without a ball being bowled for the same reason.

Experts have questioned the wisdom of the BCB in allotting the Test match to this port city near the Bay of Bengal in a month when it always rains.

They say that national politics, which affects the BCB, may have caused Bogra, already an international venue, to lose out to Chittagong.

A cricket official from Bogra said that it was shining brightly in that city Sunday while it was raining continuously here.

"They should have allotted this match to Bogra, as it was that city's turn to host the Test," he claimed, pointing to the BCB's rotation policy for allotting international matches.

BCB president Mohammad Abdul Aziz defended the decision to allot the Test to Chittagong, though he avoided a question on the rotation policy.

"May is a rainy season, but nobody can forecast that it would have rained (during the Test). Last year, when we hosted a Test against Australia (in April) there was no rain," Aziz told IANS.

"Bogra will also host matches. We are interested in giving matches to all venues," he said.

The Bogra official said that not only was there clear weather in that city at this time of the year, but it also has a world-class stadium and a five-star hotel. The modern stadium, built at the time of the under-19 World Cup in early 2004, has a capacity of 18,000.

"The Shaeed Chandu Stadium (at Bogra) is world-class by any yardstick and has been approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC). It has floodlights, spacious dressing rooms, a large media box and an excellent drainage system," said the official who was involved in developing the stadium.

"The other advantage is that the stadium is a few minutes drive from a five-star hotel, which also has two swimming pools besides provisions for boating and fishing. The press box has 25 locker rooms for journalists, something that is unique."

Bogra hosted its lone Test match against Sri Lanka in March last year and five One-day Internationals. It has won praise from all the visiting captains.