Part-time rapper demolishes India with skills learnt on YouTube

Inderbir Singh Sodhi (right) or just Ish Sodhi will be remembered for a long time by skipper Virat Kohli and the Indian cricket team after what he did to them last Sunday.

The tall leg-spinner of Indian origin not only snuffed out India's challenge in the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates with his tight bowling, but he also paved the way for New Zealand to record a comprehensive eight-wicket win in Dubai.

The 29-year-old conceded only 17 runs in his four overs and took the prized wickets of Rohit Sharma and Kohli to restrict the 2007 World T20 champions to a paltry 110.

New Zealand chased down the target in 14.3 overs.

The Ludhiana-born spinner, who honed his skills watching YouTube videos of spin maestros Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill and Anil Kumble, achieved the feat on his birthday.

Sodhi moved with his parents to New Zealand at the age of four and learnt to bowl leg-spin under the tutelage of former New Zealand all-rounder Dipak Patel.

The part-time rapper is now a class act in the shortest format of the game.

While Tim Southee and Trent Boult are the star names in the New Zealand bowling attack, Sodhi has proved on several occasions that he is a crucial cog.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson appreciates the leg-spinner's presence and efforts.

"Ish is an outstanding T20 bowler, white-ball bowler in particular," said Williamson. "He's been a big part of our side for a long period of time and he's played in a number of competitions around the world. So he's really experienced."

With the wickets in the UAE conducive to spin, it is increasingly clear that slow bowlers will have a huge influence on this World Cup.

Sodhi has shown that he should be considered with the very best of them.

Among spinners, only Afghanistan's Rashid Khan (102) and Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan (117) have taken more T20I wickets than Sodhi's 77.

Sodhi has been one of the most successful bowlers against India in T20Is and is the only player to dismiss Kohli three times in the shortest format.

Last Sunday, in tandem with spin partner Mitchell Santner, he was able to create the pressure that starved India of boundary-scoring opportunities and brought the innings to a standstill.

Such was the pressure that even a bad ball from Sodhi ended with a wicket - Sharma's timing thrown off by the variations in pace and flight as the Indian batter lofted a short ball outside off stump straight to Martin Guptill at long-on.

Kohli did the same, with Boult catching the India skipper at long-on.

Sodhi's 19 wickets are the most by any bowler against India.

Indo-Asian News Service


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