Bennett: Lack of success in Bangladesh a 'huge motivating factor'
Fast bowler says they are "thankful" for the recent Australia series to plan for the T20Is against Bangladesh
New Zealand's record of one win in their last ten bilateral matches in Bangladesh will be their biggest motivating factor, according to quick bowler Hamish Bennett. The 34-year-old is an elder statesman in the squad as he is the only one in the touring party to have played in Bangladesh previously.
Bennett, on his first tour since the pandemic, said that the lack of big names in the side was another source of motivation as everyone wanted to do well, particularly in the subcontinent. Bennett said that they are braced for a tough prospect after seeing the way Bangladesh dismantled Australia earlier this month in a 4-1 win in the T20Is.
New Zealand, who arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday, are currently in a three-day room isolation before hitting the nets on Friday. They are set to play five T20Is starting September 1.
"We have come together as a group and do a job for the country," Bennett said. "I have come to Bangladesh before and got beaten 4-0. We haven't had a lot of success here, so it is a huge motivating factor for us. We'd love to go back to New Zealand and say we won a series in Bangladesh, especially when you see what happened to Australia and other top teams who have struggled in Bangladesh.
"It was fun and games [against the Australians]. I assume it will be the same. We are thankful for that Australia series to know how Bangladesh will approach us. But it is one thing knowing how they will approach us, and another thing playing in those conditions. We have four or five days of training to find out if our game plans will suit these types of wickets."
New Zealand also received a big blow of Finn Allen testing positive two days after his early arrival in Dhaka. Allen is now in hotel isolation in Dhaka, and being taken care of by his team doctor.
"We were gutted for him," Bennett said of Allen. "He had a big winter away, playing in the IPL, the Blast and the Hundred. Everyone was looking forward to his show of skills, so it is a real shame. Thankfully, he is feeling better in his isolation in the other side of the hotel.
"He is upbeat though. He is in good health and good spirits. We will support him as much as we can. Once he is cleared, hopefully he can play a couple of games. I think everyone was prepared for someone to get Covid."
The rest of the New Zealand squad arrived to nearly the same protocols that Australia had recently. They flew on a commercial flight, but were taken through the VIP terminal and straight to their hotel and didn't have to stand in any queues at either the airport or the hotel.
"It was a tough long flight but getting off that plane, we were very fortunate that we are very well looked after," Bennett said. "I can't thank their cricket board and government enough for what they did, to get us as safe as possible.
"The plans and process that BCB put in for us, has been amazing. They have done a superb job of minimising those risks."
Bennett said he would be watching the England-India Test match at Headingley starting Wednesday, at the hotel. He also mentioned running into some WWE on the television. However, Ben Sears, one of two New Zealand squad members who played the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh five years ago, has his own plans.
Bennett, who is known as a mentor to Sears, mentioned how the tearaway quick is expected to study for his law degree during most of his free time, apart from posing a real threat to the Bangladesh batters with his pace.
"(Ben Sears) is loving the three-day isolation, because he loves to study," Bennett said. "He has his head in the books. I have never seen anyone so excited to be in two weeks of quarantine so that he can study without interruptions. Cricket could get in the way.
"I expect him to run in and bowl fast. Conditions won't be ideal for that, but being aggressive and using change-up options as well."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84