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Sodhi keen to pounce on NZ XI opportunity

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017
Ish Sodhi with Luke Ronchi and Kane Williamson. © Getty Images Ish Sodhi with Luke Ronchi and Kane Williamson.

Black Caps leg-spinner Ish Sodhi knows New Zealand is a seam-friendly country but is ready to step in with a bit of turn when necessary.

The 24-year-old was deployed in tandem with first-choice spinner Mitch Santner against South Africa on Sunday, notching a respectable 36-1 off seven overs.

But it wasn't enough to secure victory in the first of five ODIs, with AB de Villiers hitting a four in the second-last ball to surpass New Zealand's 207-7.

Both sides opted for two spinners at a rainy Seddon Park, with the earlier use of covers to protect the pitch adding extra turn for Sodhi and Santner to exploit.

Santner, 25, snared 33-1 himself.

Sodhi admitted they were unlikely to enjoy such conditions in the remainder of the South African tour, but said he was keen to play his part wherever possible.

"It just seemed a little drier and a used surface so it's going to go a little more, and it seemed to go more as the dew kicked in," Sodhi said.

"The majority of wickets in New Zealand aren't going to do that so I guess it's finding the balance and grounds big enough to play two spinners."

Sodhi, who plays his domestic cricket at Seddon Park for Northern Districts, has taken 14 wickets in his last six Ford Trophy matches for the club.

Yet despite his solid form at domestic level, the Indian-born spin merchant said he was feeling more than a few butterflies before Sunday's match.

He was glad to take the opportunity presented to him by skipper Kane Williamson and mentor Mike Hesson, but said the step-up in quality was evident.

"Playing domestic and international cricket is completely different and I reminded myself of that in the field today," Sodhi said.

"In the first 20 minutes I thought, I'm actually blowing here, it's a lot more intense than what I've been used to.

"It's just a shame we couldn't do a little more to come out on top."

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