Nic Pothas calls for patience after rare ODI series loss at home

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Bangladesh have lost both the ODIs in the series.
Bangladesh have lost both the ODIs in the series. © AFP

Bangladesh assistant coach Nick Pothas has called for patience after his side lost the ODI series at home against Afghanistan with a game to spare. Bangladesh are now desperate to avoid an embarrassing 3-0 scoreline after already losing a series at home in ODIs only for the second time since 2015.

"We are very quick to forget that we have won a series against England, India and Ireland. We are judging world class cricketers on two games. We should make sure we judge them over a long period of time. Not two games," Pothas told reporters ahead of the third ODI at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Monday.

"County and state cricket is probably the closest to international cricket. Still there is a big jump. When you come up to international cricket, the execution jumps. International bowlers are going to find your chink in the armour.

"These things take time. If I took a fish out of the sea, it will eventually learn to walk. It will adapt. Makhaya Ntini wasn't very good when he started, but you leave it at that level for a period of time, he will adapt because he has a ceiling. These guys have very high ceilings. That's why we show faith in them," he said adding that he is not ready for frequent chopping and changing following Afif Hossain's failure to make his ODI comeback count, making 4 and 0 respectively.

"It is a question for selectors. Not for me. Afif has played two games. If we are going to chop and change all the time, players will feel under pressure. You have to show faith in players. The No 7 spot is going to be hugely dependant on the balance of the team against different oppositions. It is a game by game thing. The question is for the selectors," he said.

Pothas added that his charges will learn a lot playing against the spin trio of Afghanistan as he feels it will enhance their skill-set. Rashid is currently ranked seventh in the ICC ODI bowling rankings while Mujeeb is joint number eight and Nabi is at 10th.

"I think if we are honest, they have the best spin attack in the world. That's just a fact. These three guys have played a lot of white-ball cricket around the world. It is a captain's dream where each one does his job whenever given the ball. Technically, the challenge that they have presented, is a huge advantage to us. It will make us better. If you can face this level of spin, you can face anybody," said Pothas.

"They keep coming at us. No other team in the world has three spinners of this quality that keep coming at you all the time. It is very beneficial for our team. They are ranked below us, but two of those spinners are among the top three spinners in the world. We are looking at it with a very positive outlook.

"There's always going to be progress but under pressure you will always revert to type. These things take time. I understand you guys want it to happen quickly. It doesn't happen quickly. People who have played 200 ODIs are learning all the way too. It is not going to happen quickly. The exciting part is the young crop of batsmen who will play at a very high level for Bangladesh for another 10-15 years," he said.

Pothas cut his side some slack and was also quick to point out that most of the batters around the world struggle against Afghanistan's spin trio. "I think it is not a question of whether we struggled," he noted. "It is a question of how the world struggles to pick them. Where they are ranked in the world will tell you everybody in the world struggle pick them. I had Mujeeb with me at Middlesex. Even after I was talking to him as a wicketkeeper, I struggled to pick him from behind. Could everyone pick Shane Warne, Muralitharan? That's why they are the best in the world. That's why every competition in the world puts up so much money for mystery spin. Question is, what are we going to do about it, and how is it going to make us better?," he concluded.

Farooqi working to get better at death - Hamid

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan bowling coach Hamid Hassan said on Monday that he is impressed with pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi while adding that they are working with him to deliver at the death consistently. Farooqi took six wickets (three in each game) in the opening two matches at an economy rate of 2.8 and three respectively.

"Definitely (proud), every coach and every team should be proud of the way he bowled (Farooqi) in the two games," Hamid said. "He struggled against Sri Lanka because he hasn't played much ODI cricket. But we had a wonderful training camp at Abu Dhabi and he was very well prepared. All the players, including Fazal. I'm happy that he's back and he's getting his proper rhythm. Hopefully in the Asia Cup and we're targeting World Cup, he'll be our man and the key bowler."

"To be honest, firstly he got his skills and he's played cricket all around the world. Second, he's a good learner, whatever you say to him about his bowling, he applies very quickly. I'm working on his death overs. He struggled little bit in the past although he is much better now and he has improved his skills. So, he can bowl with new ball and even at death."

Hamid added that the series win has now expanded their desire for the upcoming two global tournaments as they are looking to make their marks in both the Asia Cup and the World Cup.

"We think we were one step ahead of Bangladesh. Beating Bangladesh in Bangladesh, I know it's not easy but behind that we worked really hard, practicing in training for five to six hours and the most important thing is believing in the team and in ourselves," he said.

"That's the most important thing for anyone. If you believe in yourself, you can beat anyone. This time we think bigger, hoping for a very good result the way the team is performing. The world is aware of Afghanistan. They are fighting their best, they are giving their best. Hopefully, we get more hope from these players. We have very good batters. Hopefully, this World Cup will be good for Afghanistan. Maybe we can win a few matches with good results."




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