New Zealand tour of Bangladesh – Daryl Mitchell, coach Luke Ronchi back NZ to adapt to Bangladesh conditions

Daryl Mitchell is looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet, after the World Cup humdrum, when New Zealand return to Test cricket after eight months in Sylhet. It will also be the first Test for both New Zealand and Bangladesh in the third cycle of the World Test Championship. Mitchell is coming off a strong run in the World Cup where he struck two centuries, both against India.

“A bit more patience is required going from white ball to Test cricket,” Mitchell said. “You can breathe and relax a little bit. The surfaces are turning. We will keep adapting. We will see what we get on day one.

“It is always special to play in that tournament in front of millions of people. It is also about recognising what an opportunity we have here at the start of the World Test Championship. How much it means to wear that baggy with the silver fern on.”

He also said that New Zealand are focussing on short-term goals rather than thinking about the ultimate goal of reaching the WTC final.

“We obviously know it is the end goal,” Mitchell said. “That’s what every country taking part in the World Test Championship wants to do. For us, it is about making small goals. Trying to tick off games as we go. First, we have to take on Bangladesh. It is always a tough challenge in Bangladesh.

“Conditions are foreign to us as Kiwis so it is about adapting as quickly as we can to these surfaces, and getting stuck to win little moments. It is what we are speaking about. We are not looking too far ahead. At the same time, you want to be part of those big games. That’s why you play Test cricket.”

Sylhet, incidentally, has hosted just one Test previously but while conditions will be alien to both sets of players, New Zealand coach Luke Ronchi said that his side has developed their skills in the sub-continent. This, despite New Zealand having last played a Test in Bangladesh in 2013.
“Ten years is a long, long time,” Ronchi said. “That’s when Ish Sodhi made his Test debut. Some of the guys were young so their style of play would have changed a lot. We played a lot of cricket in the sub-continent. We have toured Pakistan as well. The guys have their own tactics to play around the world.

“You can see the reverse-sweep coming into it a lot more now. It makes life difficult for bowlers. But that’s how guys want to play. They need to adapt to that surface whichever way they think is the best way for them to score.”

Ronchi said that the ODI World Cup in India on slow pitches has prepared them for the Test series on similar tracks in Bangladesh. “It would have been a big change if we came from the green wickets of New Zealand straight to Bangladesh,” he said. “But for the majority of our group here, they have been in the World Cup. They have been practicing on slower and turning surfaces so that it helps us in this Test series.”

As for Mitchell, he put the World Cup behind him, though he savoured his presence in the ICC’s team of the tournament. “It is cool to be recognised with [a place in the World Cup team of the tournament]. It means you are contributing to the team and helping to win games,” Mitchell said. “There’s not much time to reflect. We are straight into Test cricket. You want to stay present, and be ready to go for the Test team. But also, a very special eight weeks in India. Those memories will last a lifetime.”

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