Tim Southee: The start of the new cycle is exciting and it is a tough place to play Tests; Bangladesh is strong in these conditions
Tim Southee, the captain of New Zealand’s Test team, is eager to participate in the game’s longest format while in the first game of the two-match Test series against Bangladesh in Sylhet on Tuesday, November 28, the Black Caps will look to get back on track in red-ball cricket after a gap of almost nine months.
Tim Southee, the captain of New Zealand’s Test team, is eager to participate in the game’s longest format. In the first game of the two-match Test series against Bangladesh in Sylhet on Tuesday, November 28, the Black Caps will look to get back on track in red-ball cricket after a gap of almost nine months. Despite the short break from the format, Southee seemed optimistic about the team’s energy and intention in Test cricket.
“The guys have a great desire for Test cricket. They say it is the pinnacle of the game. Whenever we do play Test cricket, it is always special. We love and prioritize Test cricket,”said Southee on match day eve in the presser.
“The start of the new cycle is exciting. It is a tough place to play Tests. Bangladesh is strong in these conditions. We played Tests back at the start of the year. The last cycle didn’t go as well as we planned. The guys involved in the first WTC cycle know how special it is to do well in this championship.”
New Zealand has demonstrated its capacity to adjust to Asian conditions and pitches despite the stark differences from home conditions, although more of that flexibility is evident in limited-overs cricket than in Test matches.
The visitors have solidified their spin bowling options, as the conditions in Bangladesh are expected to favor spinners. Although Mitchell Santner and Rachin Ravindra are all-round players who may strengthen New Zealand’s team with both bat and ball, Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi are the team’s front-line spinners.
Then there’s Glenn Phillips, who, considering the abundance of left-handers in Bangladesh, may start in the XI. But Southee decided not to reveal his cards just yet.
“We took a little look at the wicket. There haven’t been a lot of Test matches here. So there’s not a lot of information and statistics to go back on. I think we are expecting a pretty good surface. Of course, spin will play a part in the match. We played in Pakistan earlier this year. The guys now have a lot of experience in the sub-continent.
“It is foreign conditions compared to New Zealand. Pace plays a big role in New Zealand. Spin historically plays a big role in this part of the world. Our spinners have done some great things in Tests. We are looking forward to them showcasing their skills.”
Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das, two of Bangladesh’s best players, are out of the series. Although the former was hurt during the recently concluded World Cup, Litton has been awarded a month of paternity leave following the birth of his partner’s child.
However, the absence of the two hurts the hosts, and although Southee recognized that advantage, he wasn’t eager to place too much emphasis on the absences considering Bangladesh’s historical strength at home.
“Shakib has been a great player for Bangladesh for a long time. Litton Das is a class player. He has done well against us in the past. I guess it is a miss for them not having those guys. It gives opportunities to other guys to step in positions that have been occupied by those two guys.”
For New Zealand’s cricketer, the year has been extremely busy with the IPL and pre-World Cup matches leading up to the long trip to India for the mega event. Since the majority of New Zealand has been traveling for some time, physical exhaustion is unavoidable.
But given the nature of contemporary scheduling, Southee believed he and his group would have to deal with it. Before returning home for the summer assignments, the Black Caps’ travel trip this season comes to an end with this series against Bangladesh.
“It has been a busy time. We were also in Bangladesh and England before the World Cup. It is just part and parcel of being an international cricketer. Someone who plays all three formats has to accept that it is a busy time. We are lucky to get breaks here and there to freshen up. It is an important time for us, the start of the Test championship cycle. It has been a big stint on the road for the guys but it is one more big push for a couple of weeks then we are back to New Zealand to play in conditions in our summer.”
After winning the first World Test Championship cycle in 2021, New Zealand had a lackluster effort in the previous cycle. A large portion of that was due to New Zealand’s incompetence when traveling, and their shocking home Test defeat to Bangladesh did little to improve their situation either.
Although there has been no discussion of a payback, New Zealand will be eager to begin their new cycle with a victory because winning an away series in Asia will greatly enhance team spirit. Despite knowing that the mission is difficult, Southee has faith in his men to pass the acid test.
“It is not as easy as you say to get the points. We know that Bangladesh is a great side in these conditions. I would imagine a hard-fought Test series.
“I think we will have a closer look at the wicket. There will be some assistance in the morning. It is what you get when you play at this time of the year. We have been training a little bit early. So the wickets have been good in training.”
“It is a different role than what we are used to back in New Zealand. We have three seamers here that offer different strengths. It is a collective bowling unit wherever you play in the world. Everyone chips in different ways. Spin doesn’t play a big part in New Zealand but they will play a bigger role in Bangladesh.”