Infrastructures Across The Country

Garden without a gardener

Rafique Sarker

Though quite feasible to be a national cricket venue, Rangpur Cricket Garden has turned into a pasture where cattle graze every day as it grows grass due to absence of least attention and care.

As there is no cricket league and no cricket tournament for many years at the ground, the pitch has been damaged and the roller for dressing the ground has been rusting.

The ground, known as Rangpur Cricket Garden, has a vast land about 8 acres. Earlier, it was a property of the district administration. In 1986, the then president of the country asked the district administration to hand over the land adjoining to the Rangpur Stadium for development of cricket in the district.

It was about twenty years since the government made the commitment but with no effect. A proposal to will the land to the District Sports Association was sent to the ministry of land from the deputy commissioner's office but the land ministry has yet to take any initiative.

National Cricket League matches were played in the ground twice before 2003. Rajshahi and Chittagong divisional teams studded with national cricketers including three former captains Akram Khan, Aminul Islam and Khaled Mashud played in the league here to cheer the local fans.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) with its expert from Dhaka made the pitch, brining soil from Dhaka to prepare the ground for the first-class competition.

Earlier, it had no dressing rooms for players. The cricket sub-committee of RDSA built the dressing room with contribution from local organisers.

All national team players who played in the league unanimously told that it was an excellent batting pitch.

Cricket Garden, the pride of Rangpur where the sport was played with much enthusiasm, has literally turned into a grazing field for cattle in recent years

Former president of BCB Saber Hossain Chowdhury visited the ground and made a commitment to the crowed to take steps to make it a national cricket venue. Later, State Minister for Youth and Sports Fazlur Rahman also vowed to upgrade it.

However, none of them kept their words.
Moreover, its importance was ignored by the present government, which shifted Rajshahi's national cricket venue from Rangpur to Bogra much to the frustration of people of Rangpur. Organisers termed the decision as mockery of the people of Rangpur and its adjoining districts.

"No other district in the country has a separate cricket venue like us," said cricket organiser Nasim Babu adding, "It could have been the best national cricket venue provided the BCB had the wish to do it."

Mozaffar Hossen, convener of RDSA told that the climate of the district is quite favourable for cricket.

"The weather here remains cool for six moths from early November to early May. The audiences never feel the heat sitting under the open sky. Due to less humidity, the pitch also hardly dampens," he explained.

Suvo Ranjan Bablu, convener of cricket sub-committee of Rangpur District Sports Association told that they deserved to have a national cricket venue in

Rangpur from geographical viewpoint.
"Rangpur is the connecting point of eight northern districts in greater Rangpur and Dinajpur region. People of these districts frequently come here for various purposes. They could easily visit here to watch cricket but now, they need to go Bogra, about 100kms from Rangpur. It is struggling and expensive."

Bablu also shared his experience saying the crowed of cricket is greater than that of any other districts in the country. "During the National Cricket League, we could not provide accommodation for the huge crowed," he added.

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