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Australia players train with one pad to learn to tackle Bangladesh spin

Australian cricket team batsmen have been batting in the nets without their front pad on to combat a Dhaka pitch that will offer assistance to Bangladesh cricket team’s spin attack

cricket Updated: Aug 24, 2017 13:09 IST
HT Correspondent & Agencies
HT Correspondent & Agencies
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Bangladesh vs Australia,BAN vs AUS,Australia cricket team
Australia cricket team’s Usman Khawaja bats wearing no front pad during a practice session ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh cricket team in Dhaka on Wednesday. (AP)

After coming quite close to beat the in-form team of Virat Kohli during their Test tour to India earlier this year, Steve Smith & Co. have now set their goal to conquer Bangladesh cricket team in the two-Test series, starting August 27.

The Aussies are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to win the Test series in the subcontinent, especially after their only warm-up match in Bangladesh was called off due to wet weather.

Ahead of their first Test in Dhaka, the Australians unveiled a new training method to counter spin threat against Bangladesh.

Opener Matthew Renshaw and first Test hopeful Usman Khawaja batted in the nets without their front pads.

The one-pad training method was first introduced to the Aussies by former batting coach Justin Langer five years ago, according to all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.

“It’s probably something we did back in 2012 when ‘JL’ (Langer) was the batting coach,” Maxwell told reporters at Sher-e Bangla National Stadium on Wednesday.

“We did it a little in the nets when we were in Dubai (for Australia’s pre-India tour camp earlier this year). I think the main thing is to basically use your bat: if you don’t have the safety of your front pad there it makes you get your leg out of the way and actually use your bat.

“It’s more about refining your defence and making sure you’re trusting the fact you’ll hit the ball and not hoping that your pad’s there just to save you,” added Maxwell. “ It’s more for the (spinners) that are hitting the stumps repeatedly and Bangladesh do that really well. They bowl the ball stump-to-stump and they put pressure on your defence.”

Maxwell too has used training method in recent times and smashed a stunning maiden century in the Ranchi Test against India.

“That’s one thing that we have worked on and will continue to work on. I’ve done a fair bit of it, I did a lot of it back home, a lot of my practice revolves around defence and expanding from there,” he said.

Dravid’s method

Rahul Dravid and Michael Vaughan have in the past revealed the benefits of batting without pads to tackle spin.

Dravid’s strategy got a lot of attention when former England all-rounder Kevin Pietersen in his autobiography published Dravid’s email to him during England’s tour to Bangladesh in 2010.

Pietersen, going through a slump in form, had asked Dravid for advice and the Indian legend in his response suggested he face quality spinners like Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar without any pads.

“When you have no pads it will force you, sometimes painfully, to get the bat forward of the pads and will force you to watch the ball. Also the leg will be less keen to push out without any protection. My coach(es) would tell me you shouldn’t need pads to play spin!!,” Dravid wrote.

Vaughan, in a 2015 obituary for his former mentor Brian Close, recounted how the England and Yorkshire legend showed him to bat without pads in an attempt to sort out an LBW issue.

Mustafizur threat

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.”

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 13:06 IST