New Zealand left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner feels getting more opportunities to bat over the past 12 months has led to an improvement in his power game and helped him chip in with useful knocks. (More Cricket News)
Santner smashed his third ODI fifty on Wednesday while supporting a rampaging Michael Bracewell in a whirlwind 162-run stand for the seventh wicket against India, taking New Zealand very close to the finishing line in Hyderabad.
Batting at number eight, his game plan is simple – to hit sixes from ball one – and that was amply clear in the way he batted in the centre nets of Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium in Raipur on Friday.
Like the rest of the New Zealand batters, he mostly faced the spinners and tried to hit most balls out of the park.
"Being an all-rounder you need to chip in both the departments. In the last year or so, getting more opportunities to bat has helped. It can be quite challenging at times if you are at the bottom and you have three or four overs left," he said ahead of the second ODI.
"The nature of batting at 7 and 8 is that you have to go hard from ball one and hit. You train for your role and that is what I do in the nets and try to hit some sixes. When you have more time to bat like the other night you get into your innings a bit more.
"Sometimes, you will come with 15 overs left and sometimes with two overs left. You have to be able to do both."
Santner also gave a fitness update on leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who had a bowl in the nets. With Santner, Sodhi and off-spinner Bracewell in the squad, New Zealand have all bases "covered".
India managed to score 349 in the first ODI but Santner feels the spinners bowled alright and it was Shubman Gill who took the game away from there.
"The way Gill used his crease forward and back, it is quite challenging as a spin bowler," he said.