For someone who has lived in New Zealand since he was four, Ish Sodhi’s Hindi is decent. But there is hardly any sentiment as he gears up to take on India, the country of his birth, in the first Test starting on Thursday.
The Ludhiana-born son of a doctor who migrated to New Zealand is tall and well-built. He could have continued to bowl pace, which he did as a young boy before switching to spin.
On Tuesday, as he emerged from the nets after batting last, the youngster was articulate about his art and showed he would not be weighed down by the occasion.
Having claimed a career-best 5-29 two days ago in the domestic first-class competition, he believes he is ready to join the attack against the India batsmen.
“I was born in India and it is special being able to play against them because I have a massive Indian heritage. But I am playing against the best players in the world. That is the big thing to come out of it,” he says.
Sodhi’s idol was Anil Kumble, and he recently approached Shane Warne to mentor him. But the 21-year-old is wary of too much advice at this stage of his career. “A lot of people offer you advice, and the way you use that is up to you. Some stuff is good, some is not helpful.”