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No warm up? No problem for Ish

13 January 2017

The Big Bash League is a whirlwind at the best of times, but when players go down with injury the packed nature of the schedule makes it a race against time to secure a replacement.

Such was the case for New Zealand tweaker Ish Sodhi, who arrived in Australia less than 24 hours before taking to the field for the Strikers all-important clash against the Melbourne Stars on Tuesday.

Called upon to replace fellow international Chris Jordan (who suffered a hamstring strain in the Strikers victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday), Sodhi’s mind was a long way from BBL at the time of his call up.

“I was actually at a mate’s wedding about two hours out of Auckland [when I received the call],” he said.

“It was from [New Zealand captain] Kane Williamson, who said that Dizzy had been in touch wanting to know if I’d be interested in coming over to play a couple of games for the Strikers.”

“A couple of days later I was on a plane and landed around midnight [the day before the game],” he said.

“There was no proper training session or anything before the game, I just had a quick bowl in the nets and then we were into it.”

However the limited preparation appeared to have done little to hamper Sodhi’s performance.

His figures of 2-25 didn’t even do justice to how well the Kiwi played, beating the bat on multiple occasions and being unlucky not to be awarded a third scalp after trapping Kevin Pietersen with a well disguised wrong’un, only to run out the Stars’ marquee man shortly after with some sharp fielding off his own bowling.

Sodhi’s tight bowling even drew praise from the Stars’ superstar himself, who was mic’d up on the ground for Channel Ten in the middle of Sodhi’s spell.

 “That leg spinner…he’s been really good hasn’t he? Very impressive,” he remarked candidly to the commentary team at one stage during the broadcast.

Sodhi’s sparkling Big Bash debut follows on from a string of impressive T20 performances, including figures of 2-22 and 3-36 in New Zealand’s recent series against Bangladesh.

The Indian-born leggie, who starred for the Black Caps during the T20 World Cup with ten wickets at an economy of 6.10, said the Strikers team had been quick to make him feel welcome since his sudden arrival.

Our latest leg-spinner is IN for tonight's big match at the 'G! Go well, Ish 🙌🏼

A photo posted by Adelaide Strikers (@strikersbbl) on

“They’ve been a really good group, very easy to settle in with,” he said of his teammates.

“I know Ben Laughlin really well from the [New Zealand domestic team] Northern Districts Knights, but most of them I just met at breakfast on the day of the game.”

Having experienced his first taste of Big Bash cricket in front of a 40,000-strong crowd at the MCG, Sodhi said he’s looking forward to playing in front of the Strikers home fans on Monday.

“Definitely, I can’t wait to get out there in front of our home crowd.”

“I’ve never played at Adelaide Oval, but I went out to the middle and had a look the other day - it looks incredible.

“Hopefully we can get out there on Monday and put on a show for the fans. A couple of results go our way and who knows, we could end up playing finals yet.”  

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