Hello and welcome to On tour with Mike for our tour of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
To update you with what I've been up to since the tour of England, it has involved keeping track of BLACKCAPS playing for NZA, in county cricket, Caribbean Premier League, Champions League... and working within our Major Associations back in New Zealand, there were players all over the place!
While it was a little tricky to keep track of, it's great that guys are gaining experiences and evolving their games. There's times when we are found wanting in certain conditions, so we'd be silly not to embrace the opportunity for guys to fill the gaps in our program with a variety of playing experiences.
In September we had an eight day training camp in Sri Lanka. We bought in a lot of left arm spinners, off spinners and prepared turning wickets to get guys adjusted quickly to the heat and what we're likely to face over here.
As for individual approaches to playing spin here, players with a strong aggressive game find it far easier to create length by being proactive at the crease, others back their defence and are confident surviving with men around the bat and evolving their game throughout the day when the opposition tire. The key thing is that everyone plays differently, but we want all of our players to absolutely understand their own games implicitly - guys have worked for months leading up to this, and it'll be a very good test for us.
For our own spin attack, the main difference here is that you beat batsmen off the wicket, whereas in New Zealand you aim more to beat them in the air - the pace you need to bowl is considerably different at home, and it can be tough to adapt.
We certainly won't be underestimating Bangladesh because of the inexperience we have in these conditions and surfaces - the onus is on us to step up and show huge improvements from the last time we were here.
As for our tour party, playing in places like this you spend a lot of time in each others' company, so we try and get everyone spending time with each other, both talking cricket and getting away from it in the games room... it's a great way for everyone to get to know each other. Occasionally you get an outing out of the hotel, you certainly enjoy those as well! It's the beauty of the game we play, spending time in a variety of countries. You can't get much more diverse than New Zealand and Bangladesh.
That's it for this week - I understand the matches are on at viewing-friendly times back home, enjoy the match we will be doing our very best to make it good viewing!