ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Australia training hard to counter the Mitchell Santner threat

In Dharamsala, during Australia’s training session, their coaches would often call for a left-arm spinner from the tent where the net bowlers sat. It seemed like every batter wanted to face left-arm spin or was asked to face left-arm spin.

It’s not surprising considering Australia’s struggles against left-arm spin in their two World Cup defeats against India and South Africa. Ravindra Jadeja and Keshav Maharaj proved to be their downfall in those matches. Now, they are facing one of the tournament’s best bowlers, Mitchell Santner, who has taken 12 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 4.25 runs per over. Santner’s control has been unmatched, even surpassing Adam Zampa’s wicket tally.

Santner may not possess the same flair as Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, or Marco Jansen, but he has been effective due to his defensive approach. With pitches offering some assistance in this World Cup, Santner has been able to deceive batsmen consistently, just like Kuldeep. He has survived in limited-overs cricket thanks to his ability to vary his pace. His release points are a thing of beauty, allowing him to bowl slower and flight the ball or bowl quicker and hit the pitch.

Tom Latham, standing in as captain, spoke highly of Santner, recognizing his contributions in both one-day and T20 cricket. Latham appreciated Santner’s hard work and adaptability in different situations. He credited Santner’s experiences in the IPL and his understanding of conditions back home, where spin is not as influential.

In this World Cup, Santner has made the most of the favorable conditions, achieving a personal milestone of 100 ODIs. Reflecting on his journey since entering international cricket after the 2015 World Cup, Santner acknowledged the assistance he has received from bowling coaches like Shane Jurgensen, Daniel Vettori, and Jeetan Patel. He emphasized the importance of communication within the spin unit, particularly his partnership with Ish Sodhi.

Vettori, now an assistant coach for the opposition, is a testament to Santner’s prowess, as the opposition team is worried about facing his kind of bowling, despite the conditions in Dharamsala favoring seam bowlers. This acknowledgment speaks volumes about Santner’s abilities.


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