Cricket: South African skipper tips Sodhi recall

Black Caps legspinner Ish Sodi could be in line for a test recall in Hamilton. Photo / Getty
Black Caps legspinner Ish Sodi could be in line for a test recall in Hamilton. Photo / Getty

How about legspinner Ish Sodhi for the deciding third test against South Africa in Hamilton?

South African captain Faf du Plessis spruiked the possibility of the attacking Sodhi getting a call for the match New Zealand must win to square the series, and is tipping a spin challenge ahead from the home side.

For all the debate about what sort of pitch experienced turf boss Karl Johnson might produce for the test starting next Saturday, du Plessis reckons he knows what's coming.

The South Africans will be playing their third match of the tour in Hamilton, after the opening ODI on February 19, a rain-reduced contest which they won with a ball to spare on a slow, tricky pitch; and the fourth ODI - originally to be played at Napier, before being moved north, after the ODI washout against Australia a few weeks earlier.

New Zealand won there on the back of a brilliant Martin Guptill century.

"Obviously spin will be the main threat there," du Plessis said. "Two, possibly three spinners will be very much a part of our thinking."

South Africa's ODI skipper, AB de Villiers, was critical of the Seddon Park strip for the first match, labelling it the closest thing he'd seen to the sub-continent, outside the sub-continent.

Du Plessis is clearly expecting more spin friendly conditions.

South Africa have flown over Dane Piedt, an offspinner with seven tests experience who played against New Zealand last August, so no surprises there. He's taken 24 wickets at 36 runs apiece.

They have left armer Keshav Maharaj, who put New Zealand in a depressing spin at the Basin Reserve, taking six for 40 in the second innings in a man of the match winning performance, and occasional offspinner JP Duminy, who took a barely believable four wickets on the first day as New Zealand got in a tizz over spin in very seam-friendly conditions.

Du Plessis assumes left armer Mitch Santner will return to the New Zealand side, having been omitted from the eight-wicket loss at the Basin, alongside offspinner Jeetan Patel, but floated a thought that Sodhi might get a surprise recall.

"If they play Sodhi then their batting might be a bit thin, but they need to make a play with aggressive spinners. They both bowl well, and Santner bats a bit."

The last of Sodhi's 14 tests was at Kanpur in a 197-run loss to India last September, when he took three for 149.

New Zealand played three spinners in that match, with Mark Craig and Santner also lining up. He's been in steady Plunket Shield form for Northern Districts, taking 24 wickets at 29 each.

- NZ Herald

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