Incessant downpour over the last few days in Dhaka and its nearby areas has all but ruined the possibilities of Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah hosting the two-day practice match against Australia later this month.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board is facing a race against time to make the ground ready for the match between Australia and a selected local side on August 22 and 23.
This is the only practice match for Australia before the two-Test series that made the fixture an important one. Though the BCB kept a few other options open, it was keen to host the match at this ground for security reasons.
But the outer side of the ground and a part of its outfield remained under polluted water for weeks and the recent spell of rain only worsened the situation.
The BCB made a desperate attempt to pump out the water but Friday’s drizzle made the situation almost hopeless.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department confirmed that there are possibilities of unremitting rainfall till August 15 to 16 and it could be heavier to some extent across the country.
‘There is a big chance of heavy rainfall in next two to three days,’ said Mizanur Rahman an assistant director of met office, adding that they have recorded 22mm of rain in six hours from 9:00am to 3:00pm on Saturday.
The prospect of further rain only diminished the chance of Fatullah venue, compounding the problem of BCB officials, who were unable to set up their plan for logistic support.
BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus said that they would make a final decision regarding the practice match venue after they had a discussion with the security team of Cricket Australia, which would arrive on August 15.
‘We are still trying to get Fatullah ready,’ said Jalal, who is also BCB’s media committee chairman.
‘We are using pumps to drain out the water. Fatullah was set as the venue for the practice match almost a year ago, when we had done the tour MOU with Cricket Australia. As the rain falls every day, the situation is becoming more delicate,’ he added.
Jalal also said that they were looking at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan or Sylhet as alternative venues for hosting the practice match.
‘The possibility [of holding the match in Fatullah] is falling, but we are thinking of alternative venues like the BKSP. If we can shorten the travel time to BKSP, maybe there can be a solution. Sylhet is also an option but we have to see how viable it can be,’ he said.
Sources within the BCB said it was also considering a private university ground in Dhaka as an alternative, though the officials were not ready to discuss about the possibilities yet.
‘We will hold talks with CA’s security team about the venue, whether we can have it somewhere other than Fatullah,’ said Jalal.
The BCB official, however, was confident about the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium hosting the first Test despite newly laid grass.
‘There is enough time to prepare the Mirpur venue for the first Test that starts on August 27. The wicket is similar to what was used before, so we are not really worried about it,’ he said.
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