Ish Sodhi keen on more advice from the master
Northern Knights leg-spinner Ish Sodhi would love to get regular coaching from Shane Warne.
The Black Caps rookie and the Australian superstar spent more than 90 minutes discussing their craft in Melbourne last weekend and Sodhi, who is part of the Knights side that will play their Twenty20 match against the Canterbury Wizards in Mt Maunganui today (4pm start), said he's extra keen to repeat the mentoring session.
"I'd like to make it a reasonably regular thing," Sodhi said. "It really comes down to if he's got the time, but it'd be worth it."
He described the advice he received from Warne, who took 708 test wickets, as "massively helpful".
"It's probably the best coaching session I've ever had."
Sodhi, 21, said he didn't need to ask a lot of questions; he just listened to what Warne was happy to tell him.
"It was mostly tactical and mental - there wasn't a great deal of technical work. It was about how to work a batsman out and how to get him out - just little ways to make every part of the ground in your favour to get wickets, not just with the ball in your hand."
Sodhi made his test debut this year and admitted he was still trying to improve his game.
"The transition's been pretty quick, so I haven't had too much time to soak it all up.
"I think now I'm starting to understand what I need to be better at for test cricket - that's probably been the biggest learning of the past four or five months."
Since being part of the New Zealand side who won the recent test series 2-0 over the West Indies, Sodhi has gone from the longest form of the game to the shortest with the Knights, who lead midway through the HRV Twenty20 competition.
However, he said he doesn't need to change much about the way he bowls.
"With leg spin bowlers you're always looked at as an attacking option. As long as you've got your field set in the right way you're OK to bowl the way you normally do."
The SkyCity Knights side for today's match have been bolstered by the inclusion of test star Trent Boult.
The left-arm swing bowler hasn't been wanted by the national side for their one-day series against the Windies and replaces Australian import Chris Tremain.
Today's hosts share top spot on the table with the defending champion Otago Volts and the Wellington Firbirds, but have played one game fewer than the Volts and two fewer than the Firebirds.
Northern will also meet Wellington at the same Bay Oval venue on Saturday and back-to-back wins would guarantee them a place in the finals series to be held at Hamilton's Seddon Park this month.
Sodhi said he and his team-mates were not thinking too far ahead, after the Knights had early success in past T20 campaigns only to fall away in the second half of the competition.
"The coaching and management staff have been good at keeping us grounded and not taking things for granted.
"I think that's going to be massive over the next few games. Obviously there's a lot to look forward too as well, but if we keep doing the little things right." firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW THEY LINE UP
Northern Knights (from): Daniel Flynn (captain), Anton Devcich, Brad Wilson, Daryl Mitchell, Scott Styris, BJ Watling, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Jono Boult, Anurag Verma, Graeme Aldridge, Trent Boult. Canterbury Wizards (from): Rob Nicol, George Worker, Peter Fulton, Dean Brownlie, Tom Latham, Brad Cachopa, Andy Ellis, Roneel Hira, Todd Astle, Matt Henry, Logan van Beek, Hamish Bennett, Brendon Diamanti.