Cricket: Ish Sodhi justifies recall in thrilling defeat

By David Leggat

Ish Sodhi appeals for an LBW. Photosport
Ish Sodhi appeals for an LBW. Photosport

Ish Sodhi was chuffed to be back in New Zealand's ODI side last night and hopes it can lead onto more opportunities in home internationals.

The Northern Districts legspinner is becoming something of a cause celebre among New Zealand fans.

They like what he brings to the game and last night he justified his recall after missing the last nine ODIs with an impressive one for 36 off seven overs in South Africa's thrilling four-wicket win at Seddon Park.

Sodhi, who admitted to being ''quite nervous" before the match, was pleased with the way the ball came out and that he was able to carry on some impressive form he's shown in the domestic limited-overs game this summer.

The pitch helped New Zealand decide to play Sodhi alongside first choice spinner, left armer Mitch Santner. Captain Kane Williamson said after the amount of rain, time the covers had been on the ground, and the shortening of the game Sodhi's selection was a "no brainer".

And he delivered in three spells, conceding just four boundaries and bowling when the pinch was on in the 30th and 32nd overs in the game reduced to 34 overs. Being back in the ODI squad for the first time since October 29 in Visakhapatnam? ''Awesome".

''I guess it's been quite a tough few months, learning my game and how I want to take my game forward," Sodhi said.

''I had some reasonable success in the domestic circuit (14 Ford Trophy one-day wickets at 19 apiece) and I got to go and play some cricket at the Big Bash League (where he took a stunning six for 11 for the Adelaide Strikers against the Sydney Sixers).

''So I got a bit of confidence just from my performance and I'm stoked to come and do a decent job - gutted about the result but stoked with the way I bowled."

Sodhi frankly acknowledged New Zealand is a seam-friendly country in terms of cricket pitches, meaning occasions when New Zealand field two specialist spinners are going to be few and far between.

''I've just got to keep working hard and when the opportunity comes stand up and take it.

''I guess it's finding the wickets and grounds that are big enough to play two spinners and if the balance of the side (means) it's required to play two then that's sweet."

Sodhi has now taken 14 wickets in 14 ODIs. His average, 43, is a shade high; his economy rate is 5.54 but as he showed last night he can beat the best batsmen, if given the right conditions.

Can he hold his place for the second ODI in Christchurch on Wednesday? Let's see but Sodhi has certainly shown he can do a job for New Zealand.

''He's a quality legspin bowler and he bowled very well," Williamson said.

''If we go back to some of the turning surfaces we've been on, like at the T20 world cup (in India last year) he was exceptional, along with Mitch Santner. They bowled nicely again."

- NZ Herald

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