Bears’ batsman Sam Hain is excited to be “learning all the time” among some of the greatest players in the world during his first T20 franchise contract in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Hain travelled to Bangladesh last month as one 14 overseas players in Rangpur Riders’ 27-strong squad.
The 22-year-old has not played in the Riders’ early Premier League games so far, which is reasonable enough considering their batting line-up is headed by T20 greats Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum.
"It’s not all about hitting it out of the park, it’s about finding the gaps. I have faced an awful lot of left-arm spin in practice and that will stand me in very good stead."
But even if Hain does not play a match during his first franchise stint, he is sure he will return to England in December a better player for two months mixing with the world’s best – and playing in unfamiliar conditions.
“T20 is very different out here, much more bowler-friendly,” he said. “At the end of the first power-play you are looking at about 40 rather than 60 or 70 as we sometimes see in England.
“There is a lot of spin from the pitches out here and you have to learn to deal with that as a batsman. It’s not all about hitting it out of the park, it’s about finding the gaps. I have faced an awful lot of left-arm spin in practice and that will stand me in very good stead.
“I haven’t played any games yet but, to be honest, that was what I expected with the strength of our squad. If I do get a game or two then fantastic but I’ll just keep practicing and working hard in the gym so that I’m ready if the call comes.
“Even if I don’t play any games, I will come home having learned loads from being around players of this calibre and seeing how they operate and chatting to them. It’s been great to sit down over a drink with these guys and pick their brains.
“That’s been perfect for me because I am quite quiet as a person and not one to push myself forward. Over the years I have been in the same room as world-class cricketers but not had the courage to go up and ask them questions.
When Brendon was with the Bears for the T20 I didn’t speak to him as much as I should have done so it’s great to get the time to do that now.
“I’m still only 22 and have so much to learn so this is an awesome experience and it’s great to have Ravi Bopara and Adam Lyth out here from county cricket too.”
During his stay in Bangladesh, Hain has an eye still firmly on next season with the Bears when he will aim to maintain his strong white-ball performances of 2017 and to rediscover his red-ball form.
“I’ve spoken to Tony Frost and Jim Troughton while I’ve been out here and sent them some footage of my batting,” he said. “This experience will do my T20 cricket a lot of good but a big objective for me is to get back to where I want to be in red-ball cricket and I’m working with Frosty and Jim on some technical changes.
“Out here I’m learning so much, not just about T20 but the way top players go about their cricket generally, and that’s awesome.”