Sylhet is always a great welcoming venue, whether it is cricket or football.
This year, the purpose-built Sylhet International Cricket Stadium (SICS) will play host to the glamorous Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) for the first time. And the fans in this part of the country will also get their own team to cheer, for the first time, with the introduction of Sylhet Sixers in the slam-bang domestic competition.
The north-eastern city is already abuzz with festivity as the fans desperately try to get hold of an elusive ticket to one of the eight games to be played at the green venue over four days.
The fifth edition of the T20 competition will take place at three venues across the country and Sylhet will kick-start the first leg with the opening match between holders Dhaka Dynamites and hosts Sylhet Sixers at 2pm tomorrow.
To marks its debut, the SICS has completed all its preparations and all seven participating teams have already landed in the 'City of Saints'.
The participating franchisees made brief visits to the venue yesterday as a part of their last minute preparations. The ground staff was seen busy maintaining the hectic schedule for practice as well as protecting the centre wickets of the venue.
Although the venue is popular for its green stand, the gallery is not green enough this time. Perhaps the advent of winter might be a good excuse.
Ahead of the BPL, the city has been nicely decorated and around a hundred gates welcoming the teams have been set up.
To ensure security, Sylhet Metropolitan Police have taken the necessary steps and have already circulated security cautions to the citizens to avoid important roads that will be used to carry players from hotel to venue.
Meanwhile, cricket fans passed another miserable day in their pursuit to get a match ticket yesterday. The Sylhet District Stadium, where tickets were sold, was in chaotic as it has been for the last few days. Three people were injured as a group of aggrieved fans started vandalizing the stadium with stones and bricks. The chaos started after the booths were opened behind schedule.
Joydip Das Sujok, venue manager of SICS, said the preparation to host the league's opening day matches has been completed accordingly.
“We are now doing the last moment cleanup, ground nourishing and drills of responsibility ahead of the league opener on November 4. We have also ensured the security perimeter of the venue with the help of law enforcers, officials and volunteers,” he said.