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We’re gutted for Finn Allen: Hamish Bennett

New Zealand pace bowler Hamish Bennett said the team was ‘gutted’ for Finn Allen after he tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Bangladesh. New Zealand will play five Twenty20 Internationals in Dhaka, the first of which will be played on September 1.

“We were gutted for him. He had a big winter away, playing in the IPL, the Blast, and The Hundred,” Bennett said in the presser. “Everyone was looking forward to him showing his skills, so it is a real shame. Thankfully, he is feeling better in his isolation. He was looking forward to spending time with the teammates after being away for so much time.

“He is pretty disappointed obviously. We will support him as much as we can. Once he is cleared, hopefully, he can play a couple of games. The plans and processes that BCB put in for us have been amazing. They have done a superb job of minimizing those risks,” he added.

Seize the opportunity

None of the players named to the India tour or the ICC T20 World Cup are playing in the Bangladesh series. Despite not being selected for the World Cup, the pace bowler stated that he would seize the opportunity to showcase his skills in the subcontinent. Bennett, by the way, made his ODI debut in Bangladesh in 2010.

“At my age, I just want to play for New Zealand. It sucks missing out on the World Cup team. I am sure every domestic cricketer would have wanted to be in that squad, so I am not the only one with some disappointment. But I have the chance to go out and show my skills in the subcontinent. If there’s an injury or something does happen, hopefully, your name is on the top of the list to get the phone call.

“It is a different team with the different coaching staff. We have come together as a group and do a job for the country. 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. You see what happened to Australia and other top teams, who have struggled in Bangladesh.”

 Bangladesh won the five-match T20I series

Bangladesh recently won the five-match T20I series against Australia 4-1 on dry grounds. Bennett stated that the New Zealand team prepared for the series by playing on worn-out tracks at the High-Performance Centre in Lincoln.

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 those conditions. We have four or five days of training to find out if our game plans will suit these types of wickets.

“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 those conditions. We have four or five days of training to find out if our game plans will suit these types of wickets.

“We prepared on very, very tired wickets in Lincoln, which was great preparation for us. Just before that, I have been working all winter really, trying to prepare myself for the next phase of my life. I am 34. I am trying to get ready for the real world, and trying to spend time with the kids as much as possible. It was difficult to leave them the other day but we are here to do a job, and do it well for New Zealand.”

Ben Sears is one of the young players to keep an eye on among the new faces. The tall fast bowler bowls at a good burst of pace and extract awkward bounce with an unorthodox action. Bennett mentioned that, in addition to bowling fast, Sears is an avid reader.

“He came here in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. He is loving the three-day isolation because he loves to study. 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. 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. He will be happy to debut in the same place that I did.”

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