Sodhi: ‘Worked really hard on my run-up to bowl a fraction quicker’

After Ish Sodhi ripped out the Bangladesh batters in his first spell by claiming four wickets, captain Lockie Ferguson took him out of the attack after the 19th over. Once Sodhi returned for his second spell in the 30th over, he completed his maiden ODI five-wicket haul with a peach of a googly to dismiss Mahedi Hasan.

It broke Bangladesh’s last recognisable batting pair to leave Mahmudullah to wage a lone battle as the hosts eventually fell short of the target by 86 runs in the second ODI. Sodhi later said that Hasan’s wicket was particularly “satisfying” as it embodied a type of delivery he had been imagining since he had reworked his run-up to bowl more at the stumps.

“The most satisfying wicket actually was the fifth wicket,” Sodhi said. “Not necessarily because it was five wickets but I worked really hard on my run-up to bowl a fraction quicker compared to a year or two ago. That was the type of delivery that I was working hard towards. It was really pleasing to see that it got me a wicket.”

Sodhi revealed that he has been working on altering his run-up to ensure he could get the ball to skid while also trying to put his height to good use.

“A lot of the really successful new-age legspinners are a lot shorter than what I am. They get the ball to skid to keep the stumps in play all the time. I thought that the bounce could play against me sometimes. One, they don’t actually hit the stumps.

“Sometimes on slow wickets, I can sit in the wickets a little bit more. I was trying to add the skiddy sort of nature to my game by changing my run-up a year ago. Certainly not trying to neglect my height as well. I am trying to use it as much as I can,” he said.

Given the lack of spinning tracks in New Zealand, Sodhi had to find ways to prepare and be successful and the changed run-up was one such way. Though he said it took him a bit of time to understand pitches in Bangladesh, he looked at home in Mirpur on Saturday.

“In New Zealand, you might get a pitch that spins once every two years. You have to find different ways to be successful. If you can’t find those ways, it is easy to go for a lot of runs. Sit on the bench for a really long time.

“So it is important to find other ways to be successful. I naturally find it difficult here. The type of balls that spin (here) don’t necessarily spin in New Zealand. Finding out what the stock ball looks like is really important,” he said.

“Sometimes on slow wickets, I can sit in the wickets a little bit more. I was trying to add the skiddy sort of nature to my game by changing my run-up a year ago”

Ish Sodhi

By picking up a match-winning 6 for 39 against Bangladesh, Sodhi joined the likes of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Shane Bond and Scott Styris among New Zealand bowlers to take six-wicket hauls in ODIs. He was also the first bowler to do so in Bangladesh.

“I love legspin bowling. I love the fact that a lot of young legspinners are coming through in New Zealand. I think it is a product of all the legspinners in T20 cricket around the world. When I was growing up, I wanted to be like Shane Warne. Guys are exposed to so many different types of media now, you can see a lot of guys. They find something they really enjoy. Rashid Khan is playing a big role.

“It is great to be in the company [of bowlers taking six-fors in ODIs]. I can hopefully produce some match-winning performances for New Zealand in the coming years,” he said.

Sodhi felt New Zealand made the right decision to bat first to get to 254 – which proved enough at the end – even though they had initially thought of setting up a slightly bigger total.

“The wicket definitely got tougher to bat later in the day,” he said. “It was the whole reason we decided to bat first. It definitely deteriorated over time and it turned out we took the right decision.

“The batters coming in said that 270-280 might be a good score on this wicket. We lost a couple of wickets in the middle order so we felt 250 was a target. We fortunately got there in the end but you never feel it’s enough with someone like Tamim Iqbal, who can take the game away. Getting him out was an important part of the game.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84