Bangladesh Prepares to Shine for Cricket World Cup

As Bangladesh gets ready to co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup starting February 19; authorities in Dhaka have been hard at work freshening up the bustling city to welcome cricketers and cricket fans from around the world. Roads have been resurfaced, decorative street lights have been installed, and businesses and shops in the high-traffic areas of the city have been given a fresh coat of paint. Measures are being put into place to handle congested traffic, and the ever-present street hawkers are being relocated. Airports, guest houses, hotels, restaurants and even private homes have been asked to freshen up in preparation for the spotlight that will be shining on this cricket-crazy country in the weeks ahead.

Chittagong, in southeast Bangladesh, has been given a similar mandate to spruce up, and owners of old cars, buses and trucks in both the cities have been told to not only ensure that their vehicles are in roadworthy condition but to ensure that they look the part too. Abu Naser, as spokesman for the Bangladesh Transport Ministry has been reported as saying: “The transport minister passed the order to give the two cities a better image during the World Cup. A lot of tourists will visit Bangladesh at that time and we want to show them the best face of our cities.” Mobile courts will be out in full force to ensure that motorists comply, and no old, worn-out vehicles will be permitted on public roads.

Public buses will act as moving advertisements with pictures of national cricketers and renowned tourist attractions painted on them. Getting into the spirit of things, local businesses in the two cities have also contributed in the make-over of Dhaka and Chittagong in an effort to make a good impression on the world. Another factor which is being addressed is the not very reliable power supply, which the relevant authorities are confident will deliver during the World Cup.

Cricket fever is running high in Bangladesh with AHM Mustafa Kamal noting that the World Cup will be a “defining moment” in the history of Bangladesh cricket. Airports serving the two cities have displays of cricket bats, the logo of the International Cricket Council and welcome messages to greet arriving players and fans. Following the opening ceremony in the capital city, Dhaka will be hosting six games, with two being held in Chittagong. The other co-host countries are India and Sri Lanka.