The Second largest Cricket Stadium in the World …Is not where you would expect it.
Sheikh Kamal International Stadium in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh which is used to serve the country’s most popular sport – cricket. However, with the same name as Sheikh Kamal International Stadium, there are two grounds in Bangladesh. One of them is located in Gopalganj, Bangladesh which is the former home to Brothers football club. It has a mere capacity of 28000
The new cricket ground in Cox’s Bazar which will be one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world with the seating capacity of currently 78 000 would increase to 100 000 making it the 2nd largest cricket stadium in the world. However, no men’s International cricket competition has not taken place there yet.
One thing that is clear in the upcoming years, Cox’s Bazar is a major port for Bangladesh, It will also be a major town for cricket. The stadium consists of 55 acres of land. The Prime Minister of the country Sheikh Hasina gifted the land to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) earlier and in 2013, BCB started their construction for the stadium. Now, the ground is hosted local matches along with Under-19 World Cup so far.
The national stadium of Bangladesh Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium has only 25,416 seat capacity that placed it on the 35th position in the World. On the other hand, the current largest cricket ground is Melbourne Cricket Ground which is located in Melbourne, Australia with 100,024 seat capacity so far. India’s Eden Gardens are in the 2nd position but the difference is vast. It can host 68,000 people at the same time. making, Sheikh Kamal International Stadium placed between these two.
The Cox’s Bazar Cricket Stadium was shortlisted for the last 2014 ICC World T20 tournament though it could not host any match. Because the ground was not fully ready to host. The very first match in the ground was the Women’s One Day International match on 5th March 2014 between Bangladesh and Pakistan. The ground also hosted two matches of the Youth’s One Day International between South Africa and the host nation Bangladesh. Four one-day matches between Bangladesh A and Ireland A team took place here one match was washed out due to bad weather.
Cox’s Bazar Cricket Stadium would solve the problem of the grounds in Bangladesh. It seems that most of the cricket matches are hosted at the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium in recent time. Some others used to take place in Chittagong. But when Sheikh Kamal International Stadium is fully open, it will become the main ground and the problem will temporarily solve.
However, due to the lack of the grounds, most of the clubs of the Dhaka Premier League have no training grounds of their own and also, in Chittagong, there are not many facilities for training.
Sheikh Kamal International Stadium has another full-sized ground which is called the academy ground and also they have a separate training facility. There are a total of 36 pitches in the three different grounds. Even though the pitches are slow as usual as the rest of the pitches in the country the BCB does not agree.
The BCB’s ground committee Chairman Hanif Bhuiyan stated that the ground Sheikh Kamal International Stadium would be flooded during the monsoons, it would make sense to have an effective plan for it. It was revealed that after the Under-19 World Cup, the engineers would install the proper drainage system into the three different grounds.
As part of the beautification plan, to ensure the beauty, they have already planted 400 coconut trees and after two years, they will make the grounds look much better. Hanif hopes that within a few years time, Sheikh Kamal International Stadium will be a major cricket facility in Bangladesh.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury was the President of the BCB in 1996 and he first thought about making a cricket ground in Cox’s Bazar. Four years later, he looked for better land. However, BCB waited for a long time to get a fine piece of land next to the beach and now, the dream has come true.