Yesterday, around 100 people, including men, women, and children, were seen waiting outside the Grand Sylhet hotel near the airport road, where the Bangladesh cricket team had checked in for the current T20I series against Afghanistan.
Inside the hotel, about forty to fifty people were also waiting calmly for their once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a selfie with their stars.
Around 3 p.m., pacer Shoriful Islam and his wife came back to the team hotel from a trip to Ratargul swamp forest, which is 26 km from the city of Sylhet. On Friday, Shoriful Islam hit the winning runs for the Tigers as they won the first T20I by two wickets over Afghanistan.
Yesterday, Shoriful and his friends had a well-earned day off. They didn’t have any public training or media obligations.
Half an hour later, captain Shakib Al Hasan was seen leaving the hallway. He was wearing a white T-shirt, black pants, and a cap. The best cricket player in the world hopped in a van and went out for a short trip.
At the team hotel, the Tigers’ camp was a calm place. On the other hand, Rashid Khan and his team were in a different mood as they trained at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium. They were trying to avoid losing the series today.
The crowd outside the hotel didn’t get to see their favorite cricket players up close, but the northeastern part of the country is still crazy about cricket, especially after the home team put on a great show.
The current T20I series has been all the talk in Sylhet, where Bangladesh won their first game in the smallest format after three tries.
Yesterday, there were long lines of people waiting to buy tickets at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium (SICS). At today’s second T20I, fans are expecting to come out in large numbers to cheer on the Tigers.
Friday at the SICS, the mood was nothing short of electric. Around 20,000 people watched the game at the beautiful venue, but more than a thousand people who didn’t have tickets hung out around the stadium’s edges.
Since the Tigers don’t play much international cricket in Sylhet, people there have asked for more matches to be held here in the future.
Due to the high demand for tickets and the resulting chaos during games, the officials have to be ready to stay on their toes at all times to keep a large crowd from gathering outside the venue.
Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board and head of the women’s wing department, said that more games should be played in Sylhet so that the fans there can bond.
“Since we don’t get to host more games, the fans go crazy whenever there is a series in Sylhet. The stadium can hold about 20,000 people, and we give out tickets for up to 18,000 and a half thousand of them,” Nadel said.
“Since we also have a green bank, we try to give out around 2,000 tickets to keep things safe.
“If you look at how the stadium is built, you’ll see that there are a lot of open areas where people who don’t have tickets try to get in without paying. We are trying to stop them, and we want more matches so that cricket fans can have some security in their love of the game.”