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Cricket: Potential pitfalls loom large

Andrew Alderson looks at five factors New Zealand might consider in the build-up to next month's tour of Bangladesh

1. Avoid match-fixing distractions

Seven Bangladeshis were charged with match-fixing by the International Cricket Council and another two were charged for not reporting corruption during the Bangladesh Premier League this year. Those charged have been provisionally suspended but the issue is still likely to be swirling.

2. Recent history

In 2008, New Zealand won the two-test series 1-0 but only after Daniel Vettori (batting at No4 for 76) and Aaron Redmond (surviving more than five hours for 79) hauled in 317 to win by three wickets in the first test, New Zealand's second-highest chase. In 2010, when New Zealand last toured, they were beaten 4-0 in the one-day internationals. NZ coach Hesson says any suggestion they should whitewash the hosts is "an uneducated view, given how well they play at home".

3. Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen and bowling coach Saqlain Mushtaq

Both have coached in the New Zealand ranks for various periods (Jurgensen as bowling coach, Saqlain as a spin doctor). In the modern world of mercenary coaching they're in a prime position to know their opposition's strengths and weaknesses. "We know we'll be facing a lot of spin and they'll be well prepared," Hesson said.

4. Patience with the conditions

The expectation is wickets will start damp and possibly spin early before flattening out into good batting tracks. National selection manager Bruce Edgar is expecting a "war of attrition".

5. Preparation is everything

Scarred by a poor build-up to last year's West Indies tour, there appears to be a focus on acclimatising to the climate and pitch conditions. New Zealand start a nine-day pre-tour camp in Sri Lanka on September 22 followed by a three-day warm-up match in Chittagong. The first test starts October 9. "We don't want to be exposing them for the first time in those conditions. We want players who have already worked out a method of trial and error to get by in the subcontinent," Hesson said.

- Herald on Sunday

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