Sports, Cricket

Pothas wary of over-preparing for spin at the cost of pace

Published : 01 Jun 2023 07:53 PM

Bangladesh assistant coach Nick Pothas said on Thursday that they need to make sure not to put all their attention on Afghanistan spin attack as it might back fire in the upcoming home series, scheduled to start with a one-off Test at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium from June 14.

Afghanistan, who are scheduled to arrive on June 10, will kickstart their upcoming tour of Bangladesh with a one-off Test is scheduled to depart for India for a proposed white-ball series on June 19 that is still under a cloud and will later return to Bangladesh again on July 1 to complete the remainder of the series, which includes three ODIs and two T20Is running until July 17.

The 50-over games will all be played in Chattogram on July 5, 8 and 11 respectively. Later, both the teams will move to Sylhet to play the two T20Is on July 14 and 16 respectively.

Afghanistan's spinners played a huge role in beating Bangladesh in the one-match Test series in their own backyard in 2019, with Rashid Khan picking 11 wickets with the other spinners complementing him.

Pothas, who joined Bangladesh recently after being appointed the assistant coach recently, is not ready to lose sleep over past results while at the same time urged his players to not get hung up on the touring spinners, as it might hurt them for ignoring the threat posed by the pace unit of Afghanistan.

"They have a top spin attack, so the challenge is exciting. The excitement is in solving the problem," Pothas told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday.

"Having said that, you have to play the seam before you get to the spin and we can't focus all our attention on spin, because before we know it, we might be five down against seam," he said matter-of-factly.

"We will do our analysis and research. Come the time, Test match is like a game of chess. We have to make sure we have solutions for what they bring. It is exciting," he said.

Bangladesh batting looks a real concern in the longer version and it has been exposed in the ongoing three-match four-day game series against West Indies A, where they have returned poor scores despite several Test probables featuring as part of their preparation for the Afghanistan series.

Pothas said mentioned that he doesn't expect the batters to change overnight as it will take time for him to understand them and their flaws.

"I have got a magic wand. I will just wave the magic wand. Very quickly we will make batsmen... I am joking," said Pothas, on a lighter note.

"These things (correcting batters' techniques) take time. I cannot come into a new culture and suddenly just start to change things. I have to watch the batsmen for a period. We have to observe how they go about their things," he said.

"Every country goes through waves. In your opinion, your guys are not doing as well as you'd like them to do in Tests.

That wave will come again. Having seen their ability in the camp and away, there's no reason why we can't get better. But it is international cricket. Some teams are at the top of the world one moment. Some teams are not where they'd like to be. We will ride the wave, but I have to take my time to know the players," he said adding that he was impressed with the talent of Towhid Hridoy, who is considered to be a batsman for the future.

"First and foremost, he is a fantastic kid. Unbelievable work ethic and drive to be successful. Along with that, huge amount of skill. He has a high ceiling in terms of his skills, but we gave a results-driven game. The support staff's job is to help him maximize his potential. He is very exciting,"

"Hridoy is a phenomenal batsman all around the wicket. He is young to international cricket. The difference between international cricket and local cricket is that bowlers can expose, because they are good enough to put the ball in the right place over and over again. Hridoy has the skill and ability to solve all of those problems.

"Not many people have come into international cricket and all of a sudden done what he has done. It is a natural phenomenon. We expect these young cricketers to come in, and suddenly be world-beaters just like that. It is not possible. He has a lot of potential and a desire to learn. He has a high work ethic. I am excited about what he can do."