Mitchell Santner looks to channel MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming in India T20Is


Mitchell Santner is cool as When he came out to bat at 131 for 6 while chasing New Zealand’s target of 350 in Hyderabad. At his press conference in Raipur, he calmed down when some journalists forced him to greet the local people in the traditional way. He remains calm when he bowls to Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma in Indore, where the boundaries on all sides are about 60 meters apart.

Santner believes his calm approach, which he often mirrors to his Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming, is one of his strengths as a leader. With Kane Williamson and Tim Southee resting ahead of the home Test series against England in February, Santner will be in charge of New Zealand’s T20 squad in India. Prior to Friday’s game, Santner has led New Zealand in 10 T20Is.

“Yeah, I think [being cool] This is my nature and has been like this for some time now. [it’s] It’s very exciting to captain another series in India – it couldn’t get any better. So, definitely looking forward to it.

“If you look at both [MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming], They are very calm and very balanced, which I like. so i feel like i’m the same [to them] In that regard and working with MS has been a great experience for a few years now. I feel good to be back on my home ground [in Ranchi] as well. And Flame, he’s the same, very balanced and keeps it very relaxed and that’s what we try to do in this [New Zealand] set up too.”

Speaking at ESPNcricinfo’s open mic During the 2022 T20 World Cup, Fleming revealed that Santner was among those from the Super Kings side who were interested in a leadership camp that the management would run during the IPL. And according to New Zealand head coach Gary Stead, who is resting ahead of the England Tests, it was Santner’s vast T20 experience that made him a captaincy candidate.

Apart from playing for CSK in IPL, Santner has also featured in CPL (Barbados Tridents) and T20 Blast (Worcestershire). He now wants to take advantage of all those experiences during his captaincy for New Zealand against India’s IPL superstars.

“Every time you come up and play on different surfaces and in different conditions, it always helps,” Santner said. “You know playing in the IPL is no different. We play on lots of different grounds, lots of different venues and lots of surfaces. So getting a basic understanding of each ground helps. Then obviously To take that experience into play and see what works and what doesn’t.”

With 2023 being an ODI World Cup year, the bilateral T20I series does not have as much context as it did in 2022 and 2021, which were T20 World Cup years. But Santner feels there could still be some ODIs for New Zealand ahead of the three-match T20I series in India.

“Every time you play for your country, it’s a great honour,” Santner said. “So, you want to give your best that you can and I think the way ODI cricket is going at the moment with high scores, you know it’s not too different from T20. So this year Banking the experience in T20 cricket should be similar to what we got in the one-day series where we saw some high scores and good hitting. I guess trying to bank those experiences from that series.. .. Yes, we obviously lost 3-0, but we showed glimpses in the games, we want to take this series forward.”

Stand-in head coach Luke Ronchi for the India tour echoed Santner’s views and said New Zealand still have enough ODI cricket ahead of the World Cup in India in October-November. Also, the absence of New Zealand’s seniors for the tour of Pakistan in April-May will give their management another opportunity to test fringe players in the lead-up to the World Cup. Williamson and Southee are among the senior players who are set to be given NOCs for IPL 2023, which will directly clash with the Pakistan tour.

“We play a lot of international cricket anyway,” said Ronchi. “We’ve got a lot of ODI cricket between now and the World Cup, so I think it’s part of the scheduling. It’s what’s put in front of us and guys go out there and give it their all for New Zealand ” The fact that there is T20 cricket now is not something to worry about or worry about or something that makes us feel like we would be better off elsewhere.”


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