Cricket World Cup - the Cup that counts
I remember back in November when I first arrived in Brisbane that I was surprised not to see any posters or signs advertising the start of the Ashes at the Gabba. Perhaps the Aussies knew what was going to happenand wanted to hide the event.
But there is no hiding here in Dhaka when it comes to the World Cup. When I got off the plane at the Hazrat Shahjalal Airport, I was left in little doubt that the World Cup was going to be big news in Bangladesh. The jet bridge linking the plane and the airport was decorated from top to bottom with official posters advertising the tournament.
Then, on the journey from the airport into the city, almost every other billboard was plastered with huge banners urging the Bangla Tigers to give of their best, or smiling pictures of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan.
It's also difficult to avoid "Stumpy the elephant" the official 2011 Cricket World Cup mascot. The character is depicted on almost every roundabout in the city with a large inflated version adorning the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium which will host the opening game on Saturday.
On the approach into the city, a gigantic cricket bat sits on the side of the road with locals encouraged to sign and offer their thoughts about the competition. This seems highly appropriate as it seems clear the people of Bangladesh want to make their mark on this World Cup.
The catchline for the tournament which features on most of the posters is "Welcome to the ICC Cricket World Cup - the Cup that counts".
I think this is a really interesting slogan chosen by the game's governing body.
Last year, the slogan for the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies, "Bring It", was seen as a reaction to the criticism received for the lacklustre Caribbean World Cup of 2007, when the confiscation of traditional musical instruments was used as a symbol of the competition not embracing the region where it was played.
Similarly, the slogan this time around appears to be tackling head-on the criticism the ICC quite rightly received for the last two 50-over World Cups, which have been bloated with too many matches played over too long a period and haunted by disappointing attendances and poor reviews.
It also challenges the opinion that the 50-over format has a short shelf life in the game.
Of course, in one of the host countries, India,Twenty20 Cricket is very much de rigueur after the national team's success in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa and the growth of the Indian Premier League.
There is no doubt that the ICC really needs this World Cup to be a success - and it is not being let down by the enthusiasm, here in Bangladesh at least.
I mention the poor crowds that have dogged recent tournaments but this does not look like being a problem here in Dhaka.
One local resident told me he had camped for two nights in a queue hoping to buy tickets for Thursday's opening ceremony and the opening match. Sadly, he didn't manage to get any.
When I arrived at the stadium early on Tuesday, the streets outside the ground were already crowded with traders selling Bangladesh flags and posters featuring some of the Tigers' star players.
The front page of the Dhaka Daily Star was emblazoned with the headline "Fanfare hits fever pitch" with stories of the excitement growing ahead of the tournament.
The moment I got out of the car taking me to the ground a microphone was thrust in front and I was surprised to find myself suddenly live on Bangladesh National Television being asked my opinion on the competition and what I thought of the facilities in Dhaka.
The authorities here are going to some extraordinary lengths to make the right impression. There has been a campaign to rid the Bangladesh World Cup venues of mosquitoes as organisers try to provide what they call a "bite-free experience" for the spectators coming to watch the cricket.
Dhaka health department chief Nasir Uddin explained how hundreds of workers were spraying stadiums and draining stagnant waters as part of the drive.
You may have read reports of the Bangladesh government trying to clear beggars from the streets.
Unfortunately this is a city of enormous poverty with begging a way of life, but the authorities are trying to take beggars to rehabilitation centres rather than have them hassling visitors to the World Cup.
Local papers have also had reports of "a Rapid Action Battalion mobile court busting a printing press producing fake World Cup tickets".
And then there is the security. After the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 and the awful incident with the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore a year later security is a massive issue across the Indian sub-continent and that is no exception here in Bangladesh.
All major hotels are operating airport-style security with all bags having to go through an x-ray machine and police checking all vehicles as they come in. But that is nothing compared to the security at the grounds. I can safely say I have seen nothing like the scene which greeted me when I went to collect my media accreditation.
The area just outside the ground is about the size of a football field and it was jam-packed full of army personnel and police officers all wearing a variety of uniforms.
I made a vague attempt to get close to the entrance where I had been told to collect my pass, but was firmly told to stay clear.
Then a huge armoured tank appeared with what looked like a fairly serious gun at the front. It was the kind of sight you would expect on the front line at Basra rather than at a sporting venue.
It is a real shame that this is what is required , but the authorities are clearly taking no chances.
I was also told that steps had been taken to improve the traffic here in Dhaka with what are described as "old cars" taken off the road for the duration of the tournament.
Dhaka is known as the rickshaw capital of the world and I was pleased to see that the colourful two-wheel carts have not been banned. However the measures seem to have had little effect with journeys around the city still taking an infuriating amount of time to travel even a small distance.
But even the appalling traffic is not dampening the spirits of the locals. There will be a five-day holiday in Dhaka organised to coincide with the opening ceremony and first match.
Thousands turned out on Tuesday to see the World Cup trophy paraded around the streets accompanied by a huge rally with bikes, truckloads of dancers and cheering, drum-beating fans. Numerous cultural events have been organised to show the city at its most colourful.
And it is clearly an event the authorities hope will bring people together.
A huge poster of Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan had the headline "Nothing unites a country like 11 common rivals".
Shakib echoed this when he said: "Cricket is the only sport we play a World Cup in. Moreover, this is the first time Bangladesh is hosting a World Cup. It's special to every citizen. It's special to all of us."
The ICC will be hoping that the 2011 World Cup will be remembered as being special.