New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner has stated that his plan to tackle the Indian juggernaut was to bowl quicker and not allow any free runs, thereby creating the pressure on the top-ranked ODI team. Santner also added that he had a plan in place to stop Hardik Pandya in the upcoming series.
After decimating Australia in the recently concluded ODI series, India will now take on New Zealand in a limited-overs series starting October 22. India
A major part of their success was the bowling of Santner, who although took just three wickets in the series was very economical in the middle overs and laid the foundations for other bowlers to pick up wickets. In the 46 overs that the Kiwi spinner bowled in the series, he conceded at an economy rate of just four runs an over. Ahead of the upcoming series, Santner said that he had a plan in place to stop the Indians this time around as well.
"It is tough (to bowl against India), they are very good players of spin. They have grown up playing spin. I just try to keep it pretty simple," Santner said ahead of the match against Board President's XI, reported PTI.
"Bowl the ball reasonably quick on the surface and make the batsmen commit a mistake. If you get a few dots and build pressure that way, you can hopefully get a few wickets. That's what I'll be trying to do.
"We haven't been here for a while. But for me, it's about taking those past experiences of the way I bowled over here, and the way to bowl spin over here. So I'll be looking to do that."
The last time the Kiwis were in India they ran into an inspired Virat Kohli who picked them apart one game at a time. In the five-match series, Kohli averaged an incredible 119 with the highest score of 154*. Even though the Indian captain has not maintained the same form over the last couple of months, according to Santner, he is still a force to be reckoned with in world cricket.
"Not easy. He's a very good player, and so is a lot of their team. They're in good form, the way they played against Australia was very good. The last time we came here, we did OK. Hopefully, we can do one better this time and take the series."
Santner has done his homework before touching down to Indian shores as he knows his team will face an uphill task against the best team in the world. The Kiwi said that he had spoken to Daniel Vettori ahead of the series as the legendary spinner has the experience of bowling and coaching in India. Apart from Vettori, Santner revealed that he had also had a look at how his Indian counterparts, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel bowl in Indian conditions and he said that he was hoping to replicate the same.
"I have (learnt from him). He's (Vettori) a very good left-arm spinner. I am not trying to bowl miracle balls every ball. It's about tying up a batsman and waiting for them to make a mistake," he added
"Especially on wickets that offer a little bit, I watched a lot of Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. They just try to bowl very consistent and good areas and wait for the batsmen to hit a big shot and get out or run past one. I have taken a little bit of footage from there."
This time around, though, Santner has to deal with Hardik Pandya as well. The Indian all-rounder has been in exceptional touch since the ICC Champions Trophy and has even been promoted to the No 4 spot on a few occasions. While Santner admitted that Pandya could become a concern for the Kiwis, he was quick to point out that they had a plan for the talented youngster as well.
"He is a very good striker. He tends to hit down the ground very good. So I guess it's key to take the length off him. I saw him hit (Adam) Zampa for 3 sixes in an over. So, once he hits one, he wants to keep going," the Kiwi added.
"So if you can tie him down or make him hit singles, hopefully, he will try to play a big shot and go for a ball that's not quite there. But yeah he's a very good player and striker. So we have to beware."
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