Mitchell Santner bowls.
Mitchell Santner bowls.

The emergence of Mitchell Santner as a dependable all-rounder has been a massive positive for New Zealand since the last 18 months. The left-handed batsman and slow left-arm spinner, has been a consistent performer for the Blackcaps and has been a like for like replacement of New Zealand legend Daniel Vettori.

During the side’s otherwise cumbersome tour of India last year, Santner was among the standout performers as he troubled Indian batsmen with his spin and accuracy. On the sidelines of the ODI series against Australia, Santner spoke to ESPNCricinfo and admitted that he was eager to emulate the success of Daniel Vettori.

Below are the excerpts from his interview:

Comparisons with Daniel Vettori…

I only started bowling spin when I was 15, and that was from watching Vettori. He has been a role model of mine, growing up. If I can take half as many wickets as he did, I would be pretty happy. He had that all-round role, which is something I want – to be able to contribute with bat and ball. So he is perfect as a role model. I think he scored six hundreds batting down at No. 8. It is something I want to strive for, and also take wickets as well.

Ultimate goal to play Test cricket…

I want to play all three formats consistently for New Zealand. Play a role for the team with both bat and ball. Being a genuine allrounder in all three formats is my goal. I have to keep striving for that. Test cricket is the pinnacle, but then I do like bowling with the white ball. It is a different challenge. I am happy if I can play all three formats for a few more years.

Adapting to unresponsive spin conditions in New Zealand…

I think so. In New Zealand it doesn’t really spin as much as it does in the subcontinent. Later in a Test match, on day four or five, I get to bowl on some footmarks, but generally it doesn’t really spin off the straight. I guess my role depends on the situation of the game. It might just be a holding role, to try to let the big boys go at the other end.

Significance of his batting lower down the order…

Since I do not bowl as many overs as I would overseas, it is good to be able to contribute with the bat as well. No. 6 is where I want to bat, so the more runs I can get, the more opportunities at No. 6 – that is what I am looking for.