Sports, Cricket

Sodhi backs New Zealand's 'experienced heads' to bounce back

Published : 04 Dec 2023 08:34 PM

New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi has backed the “experienced heads” in their side to bounce back from the defeat in the opening Test against Bangladesh. New Zealand went down by 150 runs in Sylhet, after which their captain Tim Southee felt they didn't bowl consistently in the right areas for long enough.

Sodhi, who was the last batter dismissed in Sylhet, said the home side's impressive showing also gave New Zealand the "blueprint" to play in these conditions.

"The great success this [New Zealand] team's had over the past decade has been being able to park these sort of things pretty quickly, whether it's success or loss," Sodhi said. "That's going to be tested though. It is never anything to take for granted. It is always hard to come back off the back of a loss. But with the experienced heads here, we've been there, we've done that. We know how to apply ourselves into the next games. Hopefully, that's something that we can commit to really well and apply to this next game.

"It is obviously tough to come out on the losing side in that first game in Sylhet, but I think as the Test progressed, we found a bit more rhythm. Obviously, I haven't played Test cricket in a while, so it's always going to be tough in these conditions. The way that Bangladesh played, they certainly outplayed us. But upon reflection, I think they gave us a blueprint on what's successful in these conditions, and hopefully we can apply that to this next Test match."

Bangladesh scored 310 and 338 in the first Test, totals that Southee felt were more than what New Zealand should have conceded. Sodhi also called for accuracy from the bowlers in their bid to draw level in the two-Test series.

"It is about just working in partnerships and being a little bit more accurate," Sodhi said. "That's something hopefully we can come together as a bowling group over the next couple of days - discuss as a spin bowling group, seam bowling group, whatever that looks like, and try to make improvements. It's always going to be challenging, not playing a lot of Test cricket over a long period of time, but when you come together, [it is about] how quickly you can adapt. 

"Sometimes you wish you could have adapted sooner in the last game, but we can't sort of look back now. We've got to try to find all the learnings that we had in that last game and apply them to this one, and hopefully we can come out on the winning side."

Sodhi, who picked up three wickets in Sylhet, will return to Mirpur, the setting of his best ODI haul of 6 for 39 after scoring 35 off 39 balls with the bat against Bangladesh in September, for the second Test that starts Wednesday.

"Going into conditions where you have had a bit of success, you always have a bit more confidence going into games like that," he said. "It'll just be about exposing the conditions as best as we can, figuring out whether it's going to turn, or if it's not, what that looks like for us in terms of attacking and defence. So I am really looking forward to the prospect of the second Test, but a couple of good hard days of practice beforehand."