Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Come on spinners, get ready to roll

Bruce Martin's been good at times but has failed to set the world alight and so Vettori will most likely oust him. Photo / Getty Images
Bruce Martin's been good at times but has failed to set the world alight and so Vettori will most likely oust him. Photo / Getty Images

The blow torch is seriously on the spin bowlers in this next test against Bangladesh. It's unlikely the Dhaka pitch will offer the bowlers much more than Chittagong; in fact I imagine Bangladesh will demand one just like the last.

Five wickets for 344 runs between Bruce Martin and Ish Sodhi simply wasn't good enough and it should have hurt them to see Kane Williamson and his off-spinners get a roll before them in the second innings.

I'm prepared to give them a second chance and if you're a spin bowler needing to prove a point then there is no better place to do that than Bangladesh.

I mentioned before this series started that someone had to take Daniel Vettori's wickets because Vettori has terrorised Bangladesh in the past. He has taken 51 wickets at an average of 16, including five 5-wicket bags. It is simply asking too much for our good and reliable fast-medium bowlers to roll Bangladesh twice in their conditions; the spinners have to play their part, ideally a leading part.

If Martin wants some extra motivation, then he may want to realise he is effectively playing for his position. Vettori is due back and Martin has failed to set the world alight. He's been good at times but not a revelation and so Vettori will most likely oust him.

Martin is no youngster any more and comebacks in your mid-30s are rare. It's unlikely the Black Caps will want to carry two left-arm spinners when they have the reliable Vettori, Williamson and a leggie in the mix.

Ish Sodhi has been far from impressive in his time with Northern Districts, the New Zealand A team in India and Sri Lanka and his test debut was less than memorable. But he has all the tools. There have been plenty of wrist spinners tried over the past decade or so and few have had all the tools that Sodhi appears to have.

I like Sodhi's flight and pace through the air and the way he gets the sort of turn you would expect a wrist spinner to get. However, he appears to have the inaccuracy of your average wrist spinner too. But, if he's ripping the ball and threatening defensive techniques, then given the consistency of those around him he is worth a shot.

I'll give Martin the benefit of the doubt that he was short of a gallop and I'll give Sodhi some understanding as to the nerves that a test debut produces. But Martin got 43 overs under his belt in test one and, while test cricket never really gets much easier on the mind, I'm hoping Sodhi will settle down somewhat in test two.

So there are no excuses over the next week in Dhaka and someone other than Williamson has to answer the call for quality spin bowling for New Zealand.

No pressure, fellas!

- Herald on Sunday

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Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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