Cricket: Black Caps have eye on spin future

By David Leggat

Right-arm leg spinner Ish Sodhi (pictured) and allrounder Corey Anderson are the two new caps in the Black Caps test squad to tour Bangladesh next month. Photo / Getty Images.
Right-arm leg spinner Ish Sodhi (pictured) and allrounder Corey Anderson are the two new caps in the Black Caps test squad to tour Bangladesh next month. Photo / Getty Images.

Confirmation that New Zealand's selectors have an eye on the spin future came in today's announcement of Ish Sodhi in the test squad to tour Bangladesh in October.

The 20-year-old legspinner from Northern Districts has been touted as player for the future for the last couple of years.

He came through the national age group programme, played at last year's under 19 World Cup and has made a decent fist of the early stages of his first-class career.

His form with New Zealand A on the current tour has been enough to persuade coach Mike Hesson and general manager national selection Bruce Edgar that the time was right to promote him.

Hesson made the point that Sodhi had been a more consistent performer with the ball than fellow leggie Todd Astle, who has played a solitary test, on the NZ A trip.

With a question mark over Dan Vettori's future - he was one of three players, along with Tim Southee and Martin Guptill counted out of this trip through injury -- and Bruce Martin approaching the latter stage of his career, eyes needed to be turned forward.

Southee has been sidelined by an ankle injury, which required an operation and he's not recovered in time, while Guptill is out due to finger and ankle injuries.

However the selectors have opted not to replace like for like in Southee's case. Five genuine fast-medium bowlers is understandably not rated a priority in the spin-friendly conditions of Bangladesh.

However Corey Anderson, fresh from a century for NZ A in the latest tour match against India A, is an allrounder who bowls at a lively pace.

He too is a pick based on the future, although Anderson has been a limited-overs international. Anderson increases to three - along with opener Hamish Rutherford and backup wicketkeeper Tom Latham -- the lefthanded quota among the batsmen, a point Hesson stressed as important.

Otherwise this is the same test squad from the tour of England three months ago, so there's a consistency in overall selection.

Take opener Peter Fulton. After his brace of hundreds at Eden Park against England in March, he struggled against the new ball in England.

However he was not alone and gets his chance in vastly different conditions in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Those who assume Bangladesh will be a soft touch should think again. New Zealand have had problems in the past, Vettori getting them out of jail on one notable occasion.
The limited-overs squad is expected to be named next week.

The tour comprises a three-day warmup game, two tests, three ODIs and a T20 international.

Black Caps test squad for Bangladesh tour:
Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago Volts
Corey Anderson - Northern Knights
Trent Boult - Northern Knights
Doug Bracewell - Central Stags
Dean Brownlie - Canterbury Wizards
Peter Fulton - Canterbury Wizards
Mark Gillespie - Wellington Firebirds
Tom Latham - Canterbury Wizards
Bruce Martin - Auckland Aces
Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts
Ish Sodhi - Northern Knights
Ross Taylor - Central Stags
Neil Wagner - Otago Volts
BJ Watling - Northern Knights
Kane Williamson - Northern Knights

- NZ Herald

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