‘Anil Kumble spoke about his battles with Australia’: Ish Sodhi on his learnings from India great
New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has highlighted the impact of champion spinners Shane Warne and Anil Kumble on his career. Sodhi, who has played 33 ODIs, 17 Tests and 45 T20Is for New Zealand, has revealed how as a youngster watching Warne operate got him in awe of the craft, and from there, his learnings were based on watching Warne, Kumble and Stuart MacGill.
“I fell in love with the art of bowling leg-spin while bowling under Dipak Patel. He was my coach when I was in an academy and was somewhere around 12 or 13. I couldn’t really bowl off-spin, so I learned leg-spin under his watch,” Sodhi told Cricket.com.
“Then being part of a generation where YouTube is accessible and I watched videos of Shane Warne and from there my love for leg-spin developed. After that, I started following Anil Kumble, and then Stuart MacGill. Those three during that era were the best and for me watching them as a young leg-spinner was a great inspiration.”
The three leg-spinners Sodhi grew up idolising, he was fortunate to have shared meaningful and impactful sessions with all three. Sodhi was with the Rajasthan Royals for a couple of seasons (2018-2019), where he picked the brains of Warne, who was serving as the team’s mentor. Earlier, when New Zealand toured India in the winter of 2016, with Kumble as India’s coach, Sodhi made sure he did not miss out interacting with India’s leading and the world’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests.
“Shane Warne has got the greatest cricketing brain I have come across. He understands the game really well and has a very simple approach. Anil Kumble was great when I spoke to him for about an hour in Kolkata once. Also spoke to him about his battles with Australia and what it was like to bowl in India. Something like changing your lengths and I got some valuable insights,” he said.
“As a spinner, you think you have to hit the same line and length every time but that’s not the case. It was something I learnt from him. I also worked a lot with Stuart MacGill for a couple of years. We became really good friends. Great interactions, all of them! The main thing that they all have in common is that they are aggressive and always looking for wickets.”