Chittagong stadium is ecologists' delight
The unique setting of the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium where the third India-Bangladesh One-day International will be played on Tuesday will please environmentalists immensely as a thick green cover surrounds the venue.
As international cricket returns to this port city after five months, first-time visitors to Chittagong were welcomed by large green fields and tall trees next to the stadium. It reminds one of the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium in central Sri Lanka that is surrounded by a thick green jungle.
There is sparse habitation around the stadium, and the people who live nearby are fishermen.
The stadium is the second international venue in the city. The old venue, MA Aziz Stadium, hosted eight Test matches and 10 ODIs before being discarded.
The venue for Tuesday's ODI is not as big as the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. Nor does it have as many facilities as in Dhaka. But there are a few aspects that stand. The foremost is the green settings, with large fields and tall trees adding to the stadium's scenic beauty.
The stands of this stadium give the impression of being old, but it is not. It was built specifically for cricket and opened when Bangladesh hosted the under-19 World Cup in 2004. It is one of the cricket-specific stadiums built in each of the six divisions of the country when the World Cup was held.
A highlight of these six stadiums is that each one has an indoor practice facility. The Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium has three artificial indoor pitches.
There are just a few concrete buildings around the stadium. Inside, the stands are not tall; the maximum height is 13 steps. There is a 100-metre stretch on one side of the field that has no stands at all, just fencing to keep spectators away from the field.
The tallest building in the stadium is the pavilion, which houses the two dressing rooms. The umpires and the match referee also sit there besides the dignitaries.
The media box is on the opposite side of the pavilion. Behind it, one can only see vast fields and nothing else.