New Zealand limited-overs spinner Ish Sodhi has had a stop-start career so far, having debuted internationally in 2013. While Ish Sodhi began his top-level career with Test cricket, he has most recently played only white-ball cricket for the Kiwis. The 27-year old has opened up on the former greats from whom he learnt the art of leg-spin.
Thus far, Ish Sodhi has featured in 17 Tests, 45 ODIs, 33 T20Is, bagging 41, 43, and 53 scalps respectively. As far as the Ludhiana-born spinner’s role-models go, they range from Anil Kumble to Shane Warne. Anil Kumble and Shane Warne were perhaps the pioneers of leg-spin bowling during their playing days, running through oppositions at will. Warne and Kumble bagged 708 and 619 Test wickets respectively, making them the second and third-highest wicket-taker in the format.
Ish Sodhi mentioned that he learnt the art of leg-spin bowling under Dipak Patel when being in an academy aged 12 or 13. He underlined not knowing to bowl off-spin hence decided to craft leg-spin under Patel’s watch.
“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 said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Sodhi went on to watch Youtube videos of Shane Warne and his love for leg-spin developed. The 27-year old moved on to follow Anil Kumble and another Australian in Stuart MacGill and he names all three as the greatest inspirations for an aspiring leggie.
“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 27-year old claimed.
Shane Warne has got the greatest cricketing brain I have come across: Ish Sodhi
Ish Sodhi hailed Warne for having the most potent cricketing brain and has a straightforward approach. The leggie recalled speaking to Kumble once in Kolkata wherein the latter elaborated about his battles against Australia. The 27-year old got some precious learnings about how to change lengths in India.
“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,” Ish Sodi said further.
The Ludhiana-born highlighted that as a spinner, one does not always have to bowl the same line and length and revealed working with MacGill for two years. He pointed out all of them are aggressive bowlers and remain focussed on taking wickets.
“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,” he added.