Ish Sodhi, the New Zealand leg-spinner, says he is "very excited" to be a part of the Black Caps' squad for ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, and wants to develop as an "all-round cricketer" ahead of the mega-event.
Sodhi, who has 39 one-day international wickets in 30 games, is the only specialist wrist-spinner in the 15-man squad. This will be his first appearance at the flagship event.
"I am very, very excited to be part of that squad," he told CricketNext on Saturday, 6 April. "Everyone dreams of representing their country in the World Cup. When I was 15-16 years old, I told myself that '2019 is a good World Cup for you to target'.
My preparation starts now really – I am preparing myself to be an all-round cricketer
"Fortunately, I was named in the squad the other day. It’s great to have some support of not only the captain but the coaching staff as well. They have shown a lot of faith in me and, hopefully, I can repay that."
Sodhi relies more on turn than pace. But he is now at a stage where he is trying to find the ideal mix of both.
"I have always been a traditional bowler in a way that I have believed on turning the ball as much as I can," he said. "You generally have to bowl a little bit slower to achieve that. But the best thing I can do now is to achieve the correct balance between spinning the ball and trying to bowl fast when needed."
Our Kiwi is flying to England this summer!— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) April 3, 2019
Massive #HallaBol to @ish_sodhi who has been called up by 🇳🇿 to the 2019 World Cup squad! 🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/K0nQXQpzkr
The 26-year-old is currently a part of the Rajasthan Royals squad at the 2019 Indian Premier League, but is yet to feature in the tournament. However, he has taken that in his stride and is utilising the time in his hands to work under the watchful eyes of Sairaj Bahutule, Rajasthan's spin-bowling coach.
"I met Sairaj Bahutule and kept a good relationship with him throughout the IPL last season and then after that as well," Sodhi, who picked up five wickets for Rajasthan last season, said. "I am also interacting with Stuart MacGill and he has been fantastic for me, not just as a leg-spin coach, but as a mentor as well because a lot of leg-spin is in the mind. Working with MacGill in the last six months has been huge for my confidence. I am really glad I have him as my friend and mentor.
"My preparation starts now really. I am preparing myself to be an all-round cricketer. The amount of time I am not playing for Royals, I’ll use to try and improve my batting because there is a lot of time to do that and continue working on my fielding. I’ll also keep making minor adjustments to my bowling to suit different conditions."