Fulton rues loss of practice to rain
Peter Fulton's preparations ahead of New Zealand's tour of Bangladesh started with batting on scuffed pitches at home, and he will have to be content with training on artificial surfaces for possibly the remaining four days leading up to the first Test in Chittagong.
On Friday morning, he would have hoped to bat on the low, slow surface at the MA Aziz Stadium, but torrential rain ruined the first day's play of the visitors' practice match against BCB XI.
There is forecast of more rain for the rest of the week, which would also confine Fulton and the rest of the players indoors. They had their first training session after landing in Bangladesh on October 1, in the indoor nets of the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. There was even bounce for every type of bowler on the artificial green surface, with not a hint of lateral movement.
"It is a bit disappointing because of the rain," Fulton said. "We had the whole day's play called off. Hopefully it will clear out and we will have a good hit before the first Test.
"[Back home] we have tried to replicate the conditions here as much as we could. But it is quite hard to do it in the New Zealand weather. It is not quite the same. We have had a good week in Colombo just before coming here, where the preparations went pretty well."
The visitors' plan was to bat one whole day during the practice match and give a similar length of time to the bowlers to acclimatise. They would have only adjusted to the weather, because the Test will be played on a brand new square of wickets, after the entire outfield at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium was relayed to put in a new drainage system.
"We have talked about that. We have an idea of what to expect," Fulton said. "But we will go in with an open mind. If it is different from that, we will have to be prepared."
It is an important time in Fulton's Test career as this is his second coming, having gone through a hiatus of more than three years between December 2009 and March 2013. He has played 15 Tests, but is the oldest member of the squad at 34. Added responsibility would be a factor, but Fulton also has to bounce back from two poor Tests in England after a good series against the same opponents back home.
"I am very much looking forward to this series," Fulton said. "England are a tough team, but we know that Bangladesh will be a tough challenge at home. I feel there's responsibility for all the top six batters. If we get the big scores, which is our responsibility, it will help the bowlers.
"I don't think [inexperience of the batsmen] will be too much of a factor. Most of our guys have played in the sub-continent before, and quite a few of them have been in Bangladesh too."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here