Bangladesh extends Joshi contract after Dhaka heroics

The former India spinner will now travel to South Africa with the team to play two Tests, three ODIs and two T20 games later this month.

Under Joshi's guidance, Bangladesh made history by winning its first ever Test against Australia by defeating the Steve Smith-led side in Dhaka by 20 runs   -  M.A SRIRAM

Sunil Joshi will assist Bangladesh as a spin consultant until September 2018. His short contract, for two Test matches against Australia, was extended following good results and recommendation of the senior players.

Bangladesh made history by winning its first ever Test against Australia by defeating the Steve Smith-led side in Dhaka by 20 runs. The architects of the victory were veteran left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan and young off-spinner Mehdi Hasan Miraz. The spinners, including left-arm Taijul Islam, accounted for 19 Australian wickets with one batsman run out.

“It was a different and an enriching experience to pride in,” said Joshi, who was in Delhi to apply for the South African visa. Bangladesh leaves for South Africa later this month to play two Tests, three ODIs and two T20 games. They have a long season with Test cricket against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and Australia apart from some one-day assignments too.

The former India left-arm spinner was drafted in to assist Chandika Hathurasinghe (chief coach) and Courtney Walsh (bowling coach) and he met with immediate success when the Bangladesh spinners plotted the Australian downfall with some tactical inputs from Joshi. “I worked on the basics and technical issues. I advised them on how to use the crease and explore various angles with the right field placements. Actually, field placements form an essential part of a spinner’s armoury and I am glad that Shakib and Mehdi were quick to understand my suggestions,” said Joshi.

He praised the two spinners for the exemplary bowling. “Mehdi has an amazing seam and wrist position. I have not seen a bowler so young (19) get such good drift with the ball. Shakib is an expert at varying the angle and length and his field positions can be stifling. The nuances I picked from (Bishan Singh) Bedi sir were passed on to these two spinners.”

For Joshi, the win against Australia rekindled his performance at the same venue 17 years ago when he hit a face saving 92 and claimed eight wickets to fashion India’s win in Bangladesh’s inaugural Test. “I have fond memories of Bangladesh and this one was special too. It came in a different role and what I liked was that the Bangladesh players learnt their lessons in quick time,” Joshi added.

He pointed out the intensity with which the players want to improve. “They are very inquisitive. At the end of the day’s play, they would come to discuss all the three sessions. I have seen few Indians do that in first-class cricket.”

As far as cricket’s growth in Bangladesh was concerned, the victory against Australia, noted Joshi, was a high benchmark. “The celebrations were incredible. The whole nation rejoiced in the win, which meant a lot for Bangladesh cricket. Believe me, Bangladesh bating Australia is a fantastic result for world cricket. I can say with assurance that Bangladesh cricket is on the right path and it will emerge as a strong Test nation in the times to come.”

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