Daryl Mitchell

Watson lauds New Zealand late bloomer | The ICC Review

The ICC Review

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Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson is amazed at the impact Daryl Mitchell has had at Test level since he earnt his spot in New Zealand's middle order.

While New Zealand struggled for continuity during much of their recent Test series against England, Mitchell's form with the willow was a clear standout, ably supported by Tom Blundell.

Mitchell looked more comfortable at the crease than any of his more experienced team-mates and the 31-year-old was adjudged the Player of the Series, despite England’s clean sweep of the series, having made the most runs (538) from either side, with three centuries and two half-centuries to his name.

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The ICC Review: Shane Watson amazed by Daryl Mitchell's impact

It’s a rapid rise for someone who wasn’t even a walk-up start to New Zealand’s best XI at the start of the series and Watson said he has been astounded by Mitchell’s efforts.

"It has been incredible to see Daryl Mitchell come into this England series and just dominate," Watson told Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review.

"I know how hard it is to be able to score runs over in England and for him to play his first Test in England at Lord's and bat the way he did, where it can be one of the most challenging places to bat because of the slope alone, was special.

"Daryl Mitchell just ate it up as he did throughout the series."

Mitchell did not earn his first Test cap until the age of 28 and he only received a call-up to take on England in Hamilton, on that occasion, because veteran all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was out injured.

While his stylish 73 during that Test caught the eye of many, it hasn't been until this series that the right-hander has truly cemented his place in New Zealand’s best side.

Watson believes the fact Mitchell made his debut later in his career than many of his teammates has helped him at the crease.

"It can work in your favour by debuting later," Watson noted.

"If you debut early in your career, especially in Test cricket, you are still working through your technique, your gameplan, your mindset and you can get exposed in your early to mid-20s.

"But when you get more of a chance halfway through your career then you’ve typically got all the facets (of your game) together. You’ve got a deep understanding of your game, what works and the appreciation that hasn’t always been there.

"He is just going out there and really enjoying himself, enjoying the competition, enjoying the changing room and being with his mates as well.

"Nine times out of ten that’s when you play with freedom and access all the skills you’ve got and Daryl Mitchell has certainly shown that."

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And while Mitchell is making up for lost time with a host of great scores this series, Watson sees no reason why he can't prosper well into his 30s and become an even better player in the future.

"You can see that with Daryl Mitchell, it’s like he’s in total control of every ball," Watson said.

"From the first ball he faces all the way through his whole innings he looks to be in so much control and that’s the thing I’ve been so impressed by.

"He’s going to continue to hurt a lot of bowling attacks around the world in the next few years."

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