Vettori pins hopes on spin trio


Bangladesh's spin-bowling coach Daniel Vettori foresees a bright future for the spin trio of Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan, being especially impressed with young offspinner Nayeem continuing on his improvement from the last 12 months, reports ESPNCricinfo.

The 20-year old Nayeem took a match haul of nine wickets in Bangladesh's last Test match against Zimbabwe before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, and even after the enforced break, he has been on target in the two-day and one-day practice matches this month.

Nayeem was preferred to the more experienced Mehidy in the only Test against Zimbabwe in February, with the team management looking for a spinner who could extract spin out of a docile wicket in the early stages of the match.

Vettori, who has a series-by-series contract with the BCB and is currently in New Zealand, said that Nayeem's variations and willingness to impart spin on the ball gives him an advantage against batsman.

"Nayeem has been awesome, really impressive," Vettori told ESPNcricinfo. "He spins the ball, he has amazing variations and he has an amazing top spin on the ball. It is crucial. You look at what Nathan Lyon has done as a right-arm offspinner. Nayeem can look up to him and see how he releases the ball. "Like all the other spinners, Nayeem works hard. I think he has a really big future as an allrounder as well - in all formats. He is a guy to keep an eye on. The last time we played cricket was in that Test match [against Zimbabwe] and he did so well. So hopefully he gets more and more opportunities. Him, Taijul and [Mehidy Hasan] Miraz can combine to be a pretty formidable trio."

Vettori believes that Mehidy too has all-round potential, but the offspinner - who is regularly picked in Tests and ODIs - must find a balance between the two formats, especially in different conditions.

"[He can keep improving] for the same reasons that he worked so hard [for]. He has a real desire to get better and better. He again has to balance up playing Tests and one-day cricket. It is not always easy to change back and forth from conditions in Bangladesh to overseas conditions. He has the most potential as an allrounder with his batting and fielding, which is the way he can contribute for Bangladesh," Vettori said.

He, however, concedes that Bangladesh's spinners have already started adapting to the slightly changed home conditions. Against Zimbabwe this year, it wasn't a Mirpur rank-turner that immediately greeted the visitors unlike the ones faced by England, Australia, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan over the last few years. After criticism about the type of pitches prepared for Test matches, the team management has vowed to have pace bowlers in their plans for home Tests. It wasn't a green belter against Zimbabwe either, but Ebadat Hossain and Abu Jayed bowled 41 overs together in the first innings.

"I think like all good spinners, they have adapted to the conditions. The conditions in Bangladesh have been conducive to bowling fast, side-spin into the deck because the wickets gave them so much advantage. But now the wickets have changed. Mirpur is a lot flatter. The spinners have to change with that, and you saw that with Nayeem and Taijul in that Test match against Zimbabwe.

"They are learning to bowl a different style and learning bowl on a first innings pitch. Then as the wicket deteriorates, then to bowl on a second innings pitch. You will see them improve more and more as the opportunities come. All good spinners bowl to the conditions. That's what Taijul did so well for such a long time, which is why he has such a good record. Now that those conditions are changing, they have to adapt with them, and they are willing to do that," Vettori said.