New Zealand spinner, Mitchell Santner reckon that they are looking forward to bowling in spin-friendly conditions. After resting some key players during their three-match T20I series, the World Test champions are now gearing up to take on the runners-up in their own backyard in a two-match Test series, beginning November 25. New Zealand has never won a Test series in India and has managed just two draws.
During a media interaction on Sunday, Mitchell Santner said, “Hopefully the boys are ready for the first Test in Kanpur. It’s a quick turnaround again. We have some good spinners. It’s about just trying to grind out as much as possible. We’ve seen how good (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Ravindra) Jadeja, and Axar Patel can be in these conditions. We’ve got guys like Ajaz (Patel) and (Willliam) Somerville who are pretty eager to see some spinning wickets.”
Mitchell Santner is well aware of the tough challenges in the Indian conditions as he was quick to recall their 2016-17 tour when they suffered a whitewash in the three-match series and that time also the first Test was played in Kanpur. They later went on to lose a five-match ODI series 2-3.
Elboarating the same, Mitchell Santner said, “It doesn’t matter what format you come up against India, they’re a tough challenge to beat. We saw that in 2016. It’s been a quick turnaround from the World Cup. But we pride ourselves on turning up and play some good cricket against a very good Indian side and win a series. It’s tough to do and they showed once again that it’s a tough challenge to come to India and play a really good side. We were good in patches.”
In the final T20I against NZ, opting to bat, the Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma struck 56 off 31 balls, his third successive half-century. He was adjudged man-of-the-series for being the top run-scorer. His vice-captain and opening partner KL Rahul also scored a half-century as the duo put up a century-plus stand in the second T20. Rahul was rested for the final match.
Talking about the game, Mitchell Santner said, “The challenge for us was to get wickets at the top and we couldn’t throughout the series. But credit the way Rohit and KL batted at the top. We had our chances, but the conditions changed in every game and dew played a major factor. And then again tonight (Sunday), it was there, but it didn’t get any worse. We have outdone this series but we’re looking forward to the 12 months towards the next World Cup.”