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T20 World Cup: ‘Indian’ spin propels New Zealand dreams | Cricket News – Times of India

Leggie Ish Sodhi has been a central figure in Black Caps’ campaign
The fact that Inderbir Singh Sodhi, a.k.a. Ish Sodhi, wasn’t exhibiting his wiles in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is flabbergasting.
Sodhi, the Ludhiana-born New Zealand leg-spinner, had gone unsold in both the 2020 and 2021 IPL auctions despite doing well for Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 8 matches, he had picked up 9 wickets at a brilliant economy rate of 6.69 in the two seasons.
Although Royals didn’t pick him as a player, they roped in Sodhi as ‘spin consultant and operations executive’ for 2020 IPL. However, he couldn’t take up the role because the IPL’s change of schedule from the regular April-May window to mid-September clashed with New Zealand’s domestic season and the birth of his first child.

In 2021, Sodhi was signed for another managerial position by the Royals. This time it was the role of ‘team liaison officer’ and the franchise stated that he’ll “contribute towards both the cricket and operations vertical” of the side.
Sodhi has been a sought-after player in several T20 leagues across the world. From representing St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League to playing for Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash, Sodhi’s performance in T20 cricket for New Zealand as well as the franchises has been simply superb.
In the ongoing T20 World Cup, the 29-year-old has played a pivotal role in New Zealand’s run to the semifinals of the tournament. In the middle-overs, Sodhi has not only restricted the opposition’s batters, but also picked key wickets at crucial times.
Unlike many contemporary spinners, Sodhi gets good amount of turn from any surface. Besides the leg-spin, he possesses all the toys of a wrist spinner – the googly, the flipper and the top-spinner. But the most valued weapon of the 6 feet 1 inch Sodhi is the bounce he extracts: whether it is Dubai or the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a batter is routinely seen top-edging to Sodhi’s deliveries.

T20 World Cup: 'Indian' spin propels New Zealand dreams | Cricket News - Times of India

To explain the bounce Sodhi generates from the wicket, what better example than Virat Kohli‘s uncharacteristic dismissal during the India-New Zealand game in Dubai? Sodhi had kept a tight leash on the Indian captain and Kohli, in his attempt to break free, decided to slog sweep a dipping leg-break outside off-stump. The ball pitched and turned away slightly but it was the bounce that defeated Kohli and he ended up skying it high for long-on to grab an easy catch.
But before the dismissal, Sodhi had strung together a series of dot balls. It is these dot balls that create pressure in a T20 innings and result in a wicket. In the five group stage matches, Sodhi bowled a total of 38 dot balls, which comes to 7.4 dots per innings. This stingy bowling resulted in figures of 2/28 (vs Pakistan), 1/17 (vs India), 2/42 (vs Scotland), 1/22 (vs Namibia) and 1/13 (vs Afghanistan) for Sodhi in the tournament.
What has also been noteworthy is Sodhi’s immaculate control over flight and the length he bowls at. In this day and age where spinners mostly bowl flat, Sodhi has been fearless and undeterred in the amount of hang-time he gives the ball in the air.
“I want to bowl aggressively and defensively at the same time,” Sodhi said. “For us (leg-spinners), it’s about spinning the ball both ways and bringing the stumps into play.” Sodhi had also starred in the previous T20 World Cup in India. In fact, he played another stellar role in New Zealand’s 47-run victory in Nagpur, returning with figures of 3/18 as the Black Caps defended 126.
Back in 1996, when Sodhi was just a 4-year-old and had to relocate from Khanna – a small town in Punjab’s Ludhiana district – to South Auckland in New Zealand, little did he know that one day he will be spinning his adopted country to multiple victories against the country of his birth.


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