Sodhi targets game time

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New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi is determined to make the most of every opportunity as he looks to become the country’s number one spinner in all formats.

Sodhi currently sits behind reliable left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner who occupies that slot on the strength of his reliability and batting ability.

The leggie showed what he can do against South Africa extracting more turn than world number one ODI and T20I bowler Imran Tahir but says he is just happy to be playing.

In the post-match press conference Sodhi said: “Just to be back playing for New Zealand is a big deal for me. It was awesome. It’s been quite a tough few months.

“Learning my game and how I want to take it forward. I’ve had some reasonable success on the domestic circuit and got to go to the Big Bash which gave me some confidence. I’m just stoked I could come in and do a decent job, gutted about the result but it means a lot to be back and hopefully I can play some more over the next little while.”

Sodhi won’t get too many pitches like the one he had so much joy on at Seddon Park at least not in New Zealand and he is determined to improve his game to the point where he becomes part of the XI even when they aren’t playing on a rank turner.

He added: “The majority of the wickets in New Zealand aren’t going to [spin so much].

“It’s about finding the balance and finding wickets and grounds which are big enough to play two spinners. It’s generally a seam-friendly country and so I’ve just got to keep working hard and when I get my opportunity like here I need to stand up and take it.

“I’ve played at Seddon Park my whole life and played most of my cricket on the T20 circuit in New Zealand which is on small grounds so I’ve done it a lot, but it’s more pitch conditions that aren’t overly conducive to spin. It’s just finding the right conditions and if I continue to bowl well hopefully at some point I can be the guy they go to on any surface on any ground.”

The 24-year-old impressed in the Big Bash league recently putting in a memorable showing for the Adelaide Strikers when he took 6 for 11 against defending champions the Sydney Thunder to record the best bowling figures in the tournament and the second best figures in BBL history.

Sodhi admits that making the adjustment to international cricket had proved difficult but he now feels better equipped to handle the challenges of the highest level.

He would say: “I cope with it better now. I’ve done it a few times now, so it’s getting easier each time but it’s more that I focus on just doing my job whenever I get the chance.

“Playing domestic cricket and playing international cricket is completely different; I reminded myself of that in the field, after 20 minutes I was actually blowing – it’s a lot more intense than what I’ve been used to for the last little while. It was a nice reminder.”