Pads off for Aussies as they prepare for Bangladesh spin

DHAKA: This file photo taken on August 21, 2017 shows Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell (L) sharing a light moment with teammates during a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. Bangladesh’s muggy conditions have taken a toll on Australia with batsman Maxwell revealing yesterday fell sick just days ahead of the two-Test series, the first between the sides in more than a decade. — AFP

DHAKA: Australian batsmen have been batting in the nets without their front pad on to combat a Dhaka pitch that will offer assistance to Bangladesh’s spin attack. “I think the main thing is to basically use your bat,” allrounder Glenn Maxwell said. “If you don’t have the safety of your front pad, it makes you get your leg out of the way and actually use your bat.”“I think it is more about refining your defense and making sure you trust the fact that you can hit the ball and not hoping that your pads are there just to save you,” he said.

It’s a tactic the Australians experimented with during Justin Langer’s tenure as batting coach in 2012. The first of two Tests in the series begins on Sunday in Dhaka. Maxwell said his team will be wary of the threat of Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman and left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan. While he touted Shakib as the most influential player of Bangladesh, he said Mustafizur remains at his menacing best despite a drop in pace. Maxwell had the chance to watch the action of Mustafizur at the Indian Premier League in 2016. “Mustafizur is obviously the exceptional bowler we faced during the IPL during his breakthrough season,” Maxwell said. “I suppose his pace dropped off as he played a bit more Test cricket. He is still an outstanding bowler who has the ability to swing it and has an unbelievable change-up slower ball.” “He is not your conventional left-arm seamer. He is obviously got a very flexible wrist with which he can flick it in the last moment. It looks exactly the same either it is his bumper or his slower ball. It is a hard thing to pick up.”

Meanwhile, Maxwell revealing yesterday he suffered heatstroke during training. “I caught a bit of heatstroke on the first day, which wasn’t a good start,” Maxwell told reporters in Dhaka. “I think just doing some running outside, then going inside to do some fitness tests, and then going back outside didn’t help too much. “The body shut down a little bit but I was fine after the ice bath and plenty of fluids.” Australia, who arrived last Friday, limited themselves to light training yesterday after their two-day warm-up match on the outskirts of Dhaka was cancelled due to flooding. But 28-year-old Maxwell said conditions were still a little difficult for the newly-arrived squad.

“Yesterday was obviously pretty tough with the overnight and morning rain, all the moisture coming out of the ground and making sweaty work for us,” he said. The tourists trained in Darwin, in Australia’s tropical north, before their Bangladesh tour to prepare for the hot and humid monsoon weather. “The wickets here are similar to what we faced in Darwin, where it was perfect,” Maxwell said. “I think the guys are more than well equipped to handle whatever comes their way in the first Test.” — Agencies

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