January 30, 2017

'Being a genuine allrounder in all three formats is my goal'

Mitchell Santner talks about his role in the side, his role model, and the adjustments spinners must make in different conditions

"Coming from New Zealand, where it doesn't spin, you have to change your line and length when it is spinning" © BCCI

Do you have to show patience as a spinner in New Zealand?
I think so. In New Zealand it doesn't really spin as much as it does in the subcontinent. Later in a Test match, on day four or five, I get to bowl on some footmarks, but generally it doesn't really spin off the straight. I guess my role depends on the situation of the game. It might just be a holding role, to try to let the big boys go at the other end.

But you thrive in subcontinent conditions?
As a spinner, you want the ball to spin. On those types of wickets, it is always fun to go and bowl. It is not easy, though, to play in India, where the ball does spin but they are very good players of spin. You have to work very hard for your wickets. Coming from New Zealand, where it doesn't spin, you have to change your line and length when it is spinning. But every time I get to go there, it is pretty cool.

What adjustments do you make when bowling in New Zealand?
Here, it doesn't turn as much. You try to get a bit of bounce, so you try to bowl with more overspin to get the ball to bounce. Over in places like Bangladesh, you might try to get some side spin out of the wickets. You have to change your seam position, depending on where you are bowling.

"I only started bowling spin when I was 15, and that was from watching Vettori. He has been a role model of mine"

How important is your batting to the team?
Since I do not bowl as many overs as I would overseas, it is good to be able to contribute with the bat as well. No. 6 is where I want to bat, so the more runs I can get, the more opportunities at No. 6 - that is what I am looking for.

Was the first game of the 2016 World T20 your best moment?
It is up there. To go to India, where I hadn't played much before, to come up against India in the first game was pretty nerve-wracking. I think as a bowling group we bowled very well together. Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum did very well in that game.

We've heard that your hero was Daniel Vettori
I only started bowling spin when I was 15, and that was from watching Vettori. He has been a role model of mine, growing up. If I can take half as many wickets as he did, I would be pretty happy.

"No. 6 is where I want to bat, so the more runs I can get, the more opportunities at No. 6 - that is what I am looking for" © Getty Images

Are you looking for a role similar to his within the team?
He had that all-round role, which is something I want - to be able to contribute with bat and ball. So he is perfect as a role model. I think he scored six hundreds batting down at No. 8. It is something I want to strive for, and also take wickets as well.

Tell us a bit about your cricket as a young boy.
I started playing cricket when I was five or six. I bowled medium pace. I was really short [smiles]. I didn't get much bounce out of the wicket, so I guess spin looked a bit easier. I did not grow to full height till I was 17 or 18. I am happy that I switched to spin.

What are your targets as an international cricketer?
I want to play all three formats consistently for New Zealand. Play a role for the team with both bat and ball. Being a genuine allrounder in all three formats is my goal. I have to keep striving for that.

Test cricket is the pinnacle, but then I do like bowling with the white ball. It is a different challenge. I am happy if I can play all three formats for a few more years.

What role does spin play in T20?
Depending on the surface or the situation of the game, spinners do have a role in T20s. The change of pace can be upsetting for the batsmen, but you still have to bowl in good areas and execute. Bad balls from spinners go out of the park, just like bad balls from seamers. Spinners have thrived in shorter formats; batsmen are adapting but there is still a place for it.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • whitebull3 on February 3, 2017, 5:53 GMT

    He,s better than Vettori was at the same level of experience,{batting],he will turn out as one of our best allrounders.

  • Min90 on February 1, 2017, 14:52 GMT

    He will never be in the frame and calibre of someone like Shakib Al Hasan.

  • CricketChat on January 31, 2017, 13:27 GMT

    Santner has become a regular in all 3 formats when fit. While his bowling is steady, run containing mode, his batting is not up to scratch to call him a true all rounder yet. Could be that he comes a bit too low down the order, just a spot above the long tail. He should be allowed to bat at no.5 or 6 for tests at least.

  • SameOld on January 31, 2017, 2:34 GMT

    @BLAHBLAH: Agreed, sort of. He's a quality short-format bowler, but I think they're trying to hide his batting down the order and hoping the Neeshams and Munros can do the job before santner even pads up. He doesn't have the power of those guys, but I havent seen much evidence of him being able to knock it around and control the run rate through those middle overs either. Neesham in particular has shown he can do that when required.

  • blahblah1234567 on January 30, 2017, 19:13 GMT

    needs to bat much higher, he has the technique and temerament. He's not a lower order slogger, NZ making a big mistake in playing munro and neesham who like to player their strokes ahead of santner who can handle a situation.

  • Hrolf on January 30, 2017, 14:43 GMT

    The comments already posted must all relate to T20 cricket, which shows how much that format of the game is starting to dominate. In 1st class cricket his bat av is 29, bowl av 48. Cf Hadlee bat av 32, bowl av 18, or C Cairns bat av 35, bowl av 28.

  • CricketItihas on January 30, 2017, 13:59 GMT

    Good genuine all-round talent. Other NZ all-rounders are mostly bits n pieces type cricketers.

  • pt_pt on January 30, 2017, 11:27 GMT

    Yes for sure needs a good Batting coach so he can get his batting sorted out. His bowling is doing well.

  • SamRoy on January 30, 2017, 6:32 GMT

    Most impressive young cricketer from NZ. However, he often flatters to deceive with the bat. Needs to work on his batting. Other than that, fantastic.

  • No featured comments at the moment.