Being “aggressive” is the way to go for Santner in spin conditions

 – Gudstory

Being “aggressive” is the way to go for Santner in spin conditions – Gudstory

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You’d think it was a dream night with the ball for Mitchell Santner. He only got his second ODI with a five against the Netherlands. His spell of 5 for 59 along with a 17-ball 36 in the eighth over earned him Player of the Match.

But in all honesty, Santner revealed that he played better against England in Ahmedabad for less reward. He told you why numbers can sometimes not be a reflection of performance. Not so in Santner’s case.

“Yes, it was nice to get the rewards,” he said after New Zealand made it two wins in two. “I don’t think I bowled as well as I did in Ahmedabad. I probably missed a bit more, but it was good to keep trying to be aggressive and get wickets. I think that’s the only way we can kind of slow down the batsmen.” Mid ODI innings, by taking wickets.

“And I think we, as a bowling unit, did it very well. The guys came back, still aggressive, trying to take wickets, and they managed to hit them all the way. And it was good to get the win in the end.”

Santner prides himself on his ability to read situations and surfaces, and puts his early assessment into practice, even if it is by watching an opponent kick. On Monday, Santner took a cue from watching Aryan Dutt and Roelof van der Merwe, the Dutch duo, operate in the middle.

“Yes, I think it was a little on the slower side,” he said. “I thought they bowled, especially the spinner, very well. Yeah, it looked like we were kind of getting a bigger score and they managed to pull it out and get a couple of wickets. So, I think when I came in, it was still that kind of ‘take “It’s as far as we can go and then we try to get a couple of big overs at the end, which we did fortunately, to get to 322.”

Santner had a studious demeanor as he answered questions but allowed himself a slight chuckle when he was reminded of New Zealand’s next stadium, Chennai, where he spent a few seasons in the Indian Premier League. He mostly had to warm the bench as Chennai Super Kings’ dynamics did not always allow him and Ravindra Jadeja to feature in the same XI. However, he was excited to go home to the Indian Super League as New Zealand take on Bangladesh on October 13.

“We knew going into the tournament in Chennai that it has a nature of being a bit spindly and that happened, especially in the first innings last night. [India v Australia]”, He said.” And they are [Bangladesh] There are obviously good players in the rotation, so it will be a challenge just like any other World Cup match.

“I think we’ll see teams beating teams and pulling off upsets. We’ve got to be ready for both the next two games. Obviously the first one is Bangladesh, and if it’s anything like that tonight, it could be a little bit of a turnover in the day and then we start to slide a little bit and get a second round.” A little bit clammy, so we have to be ready for both.”

On the topic of wicket rotation, Santner also emphasized the bowling adjustments he had to make. From playing a commanding role on grass surfaces that left little bowling time at home, he is now a wicket-hunting aggressor in the subcontinent.

“It’s good to come here and see some spinner wickets because they are few and far between in New Zealand,” he said. “I think the role in New Zealand is a little different than here. You want to be a little more aggressive. And you hold your slips longer. I try to work with that middle most of the time, and there’s only three back, trying to get them to play big shots.”

“And if the innings are spinning, yeah, the innings are kind of more aggressive. And then I think we’ll see sometimes throughout this tournament if the innings are very flat, that innings might be defensive for a while, try to get wickets through pressure. And then “Like tonight, if there’s a little bit of spin, it might be, ‘Okay, let’s be more aggressive. Let’s throw it, let it slide. And that was nice. I think Rushin’ [Ravindra] Bowled very well too, that kind of mentality of always trying to get wickets through the middle.

So, two wins, two days off in a long tournament. They must fly high, right?

“Yes, it’s obviously a good start. We knew that when we came in today after beating England, we couldn’t get complacent. We know Netherlands are a good team and they almost caught Pakistan the other day, so it was that.” Obviously it’s nice to get the W title tonight. It’s two more points, but you have to move on very quickly in this tournament.”

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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