Sodhi shows plenty of promise for Black Caps
There was a big chunk of Daniel Vettori's influence on show in Dunedin and a bigger chunk of promise in New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi.
The 21-year-old Sodhi, who has lists Vettori as one of his idols and influences, showed plenty of the former New Zealand skipper's guile as he took three wickets for the Black Caps on day three of the first test against the West Indies yesterday including 2-63 in the first innings.
Sodhi's brace early in the day helped New Zealand dismiss the West Indies for 213, a massive 396 behind the home side's 609-9 declared.
Captain Brendon McCullum enforced the follow-on and the West Indies were much better in their second innings, reaching 168-2 at stumps.
At the start of today's fourth day, the visitors were still 228 from making New Zealand bat again and knew they were in for a lot of Sodhi.
He didn't bowl well all day yesterday, and he mixed his good balls with too many bad ones, but he is a legspinner and it's not an easy art.
The cricketing world was spoilt by Shane Warne's control which developed further later in his career.
However, the early signs from Sodhi are promising and the good balls are very good.
Not only did he turn the ball, but he extracted bounce at times and showed his full array of skills and variations. He also set batsmen up cleverly, a la, Vettori.
A series of slower, legspinners were followed by a ball that skidded on or one which came back unexpectedly.
It was a wrong-un which undid Shane Shillingford in the first innings before Sodhi trapped No 11 Shannon Gabriel in front.
In the second innings on a flattening University Oval, Sodhi, who had just floated up a couple of balls to opener Kirk Edwards (59), slid one through for the simplest of LBW decisions.
"He has some good balls out of his hand," Edwards said.
"He'd probably like to be a bit more consistent because he bowls you a bad ball. But he's just starting his career.
"With his captain behind him . . . anything can come out of it. The balls he bowls, he'll definitely get wickets in test cricket."
Sodhi's team-mate Tim Southee, who took 4-52 in the first innings and predicted there was still a lot of work to do to win the first test, also sung Sodhi's praises.
"He's a good player, a very good player and he's only young, he's learning all the time,"
Sodhi struggled bowling to Shivnarine Chanderpaul but most bowlers do - the 39-year-old yesterday became just the seventh player to bring up 11,000 test runs.
While Sodhi was up and down, Southee said there was a lot to like and there appeared to be a real confidence from the side, and captain McCullum in the young, Indian-born spinner.
"He'll have a massive role to play tomorrow along with us seamers," Southee said after play last night.
"He's a very talented cricketer."
New Zealand v West Indies
University Oval, Dunedin
First innings 609
K Edwards c Fulton b Boult 0
K Powell c Watling b Southee 7
D Bravo c McCullum b Southee 40
M Samuels c Taylor b Southee 14
S Chanderpaul lbw Boult 76
N Deonarine c Taylor b Southee 15
D Ramdin c Watling b Boult 12
D Sammy not out 27
S Shillingford b Sodhi 9
T Best run out (Redmond/Southee) 0
S Gabriel b Sodhi 0
Extras: (11lb, 1wd, 1nb) 13
Total (all out, 62.1 overs) 213
Fall of wickets: 4, 24, 70, 73, 106, 174, 183, 202, 205, 213
Bowling: T Boult 18-5-40-3, T Southee 16-2-54-4, N Wagner 13-2-47-0 (1nb, 1wd), I Sodhi 15.1-2-63-2.
Second Innings (following on)
K Edwards lbw Sodhi 59
K Powell c Southee b Boult 14
D Bravo not out 72
M Samuels not out 17
Extras (4b, 2lb) 6
Total (for two wickets, 49 overs) 168
Fall of wickets: 18, 135
Bowling: T Southee 10-1-36-0, T Boult 9-2-26-1, N Wagner 9-1-35-0, C Anderson 6-1-8-0, I Sodhi 13-1-51-1, A Redmond 2-1-6-0