Sunil Joshi with Shakib Al Hasan. Photo: BCB
Sunil Joshi with Shakib Al Hasan. Photo: BCB

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Sunday extended former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi’s contract as their spin consultant till the ICC World Cup 2019.

“It’s a great opportunity and I am thankful to the Bangladesh Cricket Board for having kept the trust in me,” Joshi, who played 69 OIDs between 1996 and 2001, was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Sunday, a day after Bangladesh thrashed West Indies in the first Test inside three days to register their first Test win at home.

“There is a very positive vibe within the team, having won the ODI and T20I series against Windies earlier this year, as well as getting to the final of the Asia Cup and losing very narrowly to India. There are a lot of positives. The players have started believing in themselves since their wonderful run to the semi-final at the 2015 World Cup. They are no longer satisfied at pushing the top teams in the world, they are confident that they can beat them both in white-ball and red-ball cricket, which has given the thrust to the players and to me as well.”

Joshi, who missed out on the 1999 World Cup as India opted for offspinner Nikhil Chopra, has been with the Tigers since August 2017 and has already chalked out his plan with head coach Courtney Walsh for the 50-over showpiece event in England and Wales.

“It is very important to play a good brand of cricket. We have been doing well in white-ball cricket, showing more consistency in the middle overs with the bat while chasing, and focusing on PowerPlay bowling, which really makes a difference,” he said.

“Those are the areas we are focusing on as far as white-ball is concerned. The slog overs block has been employed differently by different teams. They attack in different blocks, depending on what their strengths are. We need to be prepared for that. The moment you smell something, you should be able to adapt.”

On Bangladesh’s Test hero Taijul Islam, who snapped 6/33 in Chittagong on Saturday for the 64-run win, Joshi said the 26-year-old tweaker showed adaptability to working with different brands of cricket balls in a quick period.

“We played with a different ball against Zimbabwe, we are using a different ball against Windies. With Zimbabwe, it was the SG Test, now it is Kookaburra. The reason for the change of brand is largely tactical. Windies are coming off a Test series in India, where they sort of got used to playing with the SG Test ball, whereas at home, they use Duke’s,” he said.

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“Our boys are equally equipped to play with both SG Test and the Kookaburra. It’s these sorts of tactical aspects that we focus on. Taijul has adapted to the different balls so quickly. We are playing four Tests in four weeks, back-to-back, and the way he has responded to the challenge thus far has been brilliant.

“There is equal onus on the coach and the player — you are being constantly reminded of the need for a consistent line, of a repeatable action, of the number of balls you need to bowl in practice. And the best part of it all is Shakib’s presence. The captain really makes a difference to the team and leads from the front. Though he is coming back from injury, it never looks like he was away.”

Meanwhile, veteran Shakib Al Hasan became the fastest allrounder to reach 200 wickets and 3000 runs in Test cricket. “It is a staggering accomplishment,” Joshi said.

“He is the role model for young spinners, for young players. Everyone looks up to him because of the quality of cricket he has showcased around the world all these years, and because of the experience and expertise in different leagues as well.

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“I am very fortunate that we have Shakib in our ranks to inspire through deeds and words. He shares a very good rapport with all the spinners, be it Taijul or Mehidy Hasan Miraz. We have a new kid on the block, Nayeem Hasan, an outstanding bowler. He is 6’2, 17 years old, amazing off-spinner – such a great talent, as he showed by picking up a five-wicket haul on Test debut. And we have another hope, Naimul Islam. There is a bunch of spinners, and I am so excited to work along with them. Shakib is up front, he encourages the spinners to interact with me. This is a rapport that has developed over a period of time. They are comfortable with me, and I am comfortable with them as well; we enjoy spending time together, talking spin and, of course, getting the results.”