The touring New Zealand team received a rare hospitality from the Bangladesh Cricket Board as they got an opportunity to practice on the centre wicket of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Monday.
The BCB didn’t allow their team let alone the foreign teams to practice on the centre wicket while hosting a bilateral series or a series involving more teams in the recent past.
However, the BCB had to change from their previous position after they received a request from their New Zealand counterpart which was to let them practice on the centre wicket.
“The NZC had requested us for it and we responded to it. Due to the pandemic, we could not give all the practice facilities to them so we have responded to their request,” BCB Chief Executive Officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told The Daily Sun.
The visitors were initially scheduled to play a practice match at the BKSP before taking on the Tigers in the five-match T20I series, starting from September 1.
But the match was eventually cancelled by the New Zealand Cricket before their team arrived in Dhaka as they feared bio-bubble breaching while travelling to the BKSP to play the match.
It is understood that the decision has saved BCB a lot of money as they needed to quarantine a big group of 45-50 people for seven to 10 days including players, umpires, match referees, groundsmen, catering team members and others involving in that game in order to organise the match.
The NZC provided the Tigers with a full ground with three nets during their quarantine stay in Queenstown for a week while they also increased the facilities after the Bangladesh team finished the quarantine there.
All these things actually prompted the BCB to come out from their traditional stand while hosting an international series and it was also learnt that they consulted with others before making the final call.
Meanwhile, uncapped New Zealand pacer Ben Sears, who also practised on the centre wicket on Monday during their fourth-day training session in Dhaka, believed that playing smart cricket is the only option to get better results here in Bangladesh.
“You try to bowl fast but the wickets are different. You need to be smarter with it. The fast ones in the nets sometimes feel like the ones that might get smashed. It is just picking and choosing when to bowl what, and maintaining variety. Bowling off-cutters are helpful,” the 23-year old pacer said.
“It is really different (the training ground). Not like home. It is eye-opening. It feels like a different world,” observed Sears, who is eyeing to make his international debut in the series.
“It would be awesome. I think it is a bit of a weird tour. I am probably the 15th bowler in the country picked for it, because everyone is out. It is, however, an awesome opportunity to come over here. It is pretty wild,” he added.