India seems to be a special place for Mitchell Santner. Of course, the conditions do assist the spinners a lot more than any other cricket-playing nation, and the left-arm spinner is becoming a force to reckon with for the Kiwis as far as limited overs cricket is concerned.
After a terrific World T20 in India with 10 wickets from five matches, Santner played a crucial role in helping the Kiwis fight back in the ODI series to go level with India in the deciding clash.
While the Kiwi bowlers struggled to contain the Indian batsmen with all going above five runs per over in the final match at the ACA-VDCA Stadium on Saturday, Santner finished with 1/36 from his 10 overs at an economy rate of 3.60. He also claimed the wicket of India skipper MS Dhoni, deceiving him in the flight to be struck right in front of the stumps.
Apart from being New Zealand’s most economical bowler in the five-match series, he ended up being the joint highest wicket-taker (10) with pacer Trent Boult.
No wonder, skipper Kane Williamson termed him as the highlight of the tour. “He has been outstanding, a young cricketer who is newish to the side. Although conditions are favourable to spinners here there are a lot of spinners who come here and struggle,” said Williamson.
“I guess it’s because of the pace of the wicket against extremely good players of spin. Mitch has performed day-in and day-out. His change of pace and his ability to spin the ball was a great asset to have. Not to mention his batting and his fielding as well. (We) look forward to seeing his progression in the future.”
The outcome of the fifth ODI left Williamson frustrated, but he insisted there were still many positives to take back. “Overall, there were a lot of positives. Like I said, coming off a Test series and a long tour, the guys showed a lot of fight to get back into the series. There were a lot of lessons to be learnt in these conditions. To get that kind of exposure is a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, sometimes the brightest lessons come from failures and defeats. I certainly hope we learn from here.”