Daniel Vettori: ‘Spin can play a big part’ in New Zealand

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The Bangladesh spin-bowling coach backs “experienced” Mehidy Hasan Miraz to make a difference

Bangladesh’s spinners can make a big impact in the ODI series against New Zealand, according to their spin-bowling coach Daniel Vettori. The first of the three-match series is in Dunedin on March 20, and the visitors will also play three T20Is, with the tour ending on April 1.

Vettori is meeting the Bangladesh team for the first time in 12 months after having stayed back at home because of the pandemic for the West Indies series earlier this year. He arrived in Queenstown ahead of the touring party who completed their 14-day quarantine in Christchurch, and started training in from Wednesday.

Bangladesh are without their star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who has an injured thigh and also is awaiting the birth of his child, but Vettori believes that the likes of Mehidy Hasan Miraz – for whom it will be the third tour of New Zealand – can lead the spin attack, with the help from Mahedi Hasan and Nasum Ahmed.

Vettori said that the performances of Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa in the recently-concluded New Zealand-Australia T20I series suggests that spin can be useful in New Zealand conditions. Sodhi was adjudged the Player of the Series for his 13 wickets in the five-match series, while Agar picked up 6 for 30 in the third T20I.

“I think spin can play a big part,” Vettori said. “You see how successful Mitch Santner and Ish Sodhi have been in the recent series. Even Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa played a role. Everyone knows that spin is an important part of white-ball cricket. Miraz in particular, how experienced he is, and how successful he was in the recent series against West Indies, I think he can bring a lot to the table. He will be backed up by Mahedi and Nasum. I think they can really find a place in the team and contribute.”

Bangladesh have never beaten New Zealand in their backyard. But the roles have reversed in recent years outside New Zealand. Bangladesh blanked New Zealand 4-0 and 3-0 in 2010 and 2013 at home, beat them at the 2017 Champions Trophy and ran them close in the 2019 World Cup.

Vettori said that in captain Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh have a cricketer who has seen it all in New Zealand, and knows what to do and what not to do in these conditions.

“I think Bangladesh is lucky coming into this tour with Tamim as captain,” Vettori said. “He is very open-minded. Because he has come across the challenges of New Zealand before, he understands what hasn’t worked in the past. I think he is positive around working towards things that can work.

“I think it is a great starting point for us. I think Bangladesh will try some things in this series. We know New Zealand is an exceptional team who are playing really well but hopefully we have learned from those prior experiences.”

This will only be Vettori’s third assignment with Bangladesh. He had previously toured India in 2019 and was around during the home series against Zimbabwe last year.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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