Craig has not played in a Test match since seven months after a beamer hit his hand while playing for his state side Otago. He was a part of the squad in South Africa, but could not feature then.Overseas spinners who come tour India, normally dream about the ball turning square. Although, New Zealand‘s off-break bowler Mark Craig considers the straighter delivery as invaluable. ”The one that goes straight is probably just as invaluable as the ball that turns. I think over here, at times it can probably do too much, so the key is trying and find a way for the ball to slide on straight,” Craig said as quoted by EspnCricInfo, a week before New Zealand’s Test against India begins at Kanpur. Craig has not played in a Test match since seven months after a beamer hit his hand while playing for his state side Otago. He was a part of the squad in South Africa, but could not feature then. He has used his time away from the team, to work on his technicalities, all of which were related to his bowling action. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs New Zealand 1st Test at Kanpur
“I was getting pretty flat with the shoulders, trying to get my shoulders back to 45 [degrees, to be taller at the crease] when I load up,” Craig said. “Not getting too long in my delivery stride and just closing off with the feet. So just three things that I can always go back and look on now. And yeah, happy with the changes I’ve made,” he said. READ: Shikhar Dhawan: Competition for opening slot good for Team India
Craig had a poor showing against Australia last season, when he bowled 137.2 overs but with only ten wickets. He said, New Zealand have observed how Indian spinners bowl in subcontinent conditions. While Ravichandran Ashwin was called as the best in the world by Anil Kumble, India’s coach, Ravindra Jadeja managed to pick ten wickets in the final of the Duleep Trophy 2016-17, for India Blue, in the first tournament played with the Pink ball. READ: India announce squad for Test series vs New Zealand
“They’re probably different spinners to our boys, but they’re world class,” Craig said. “They tend to play around a little bit with, I suppose, undercutting the ball slightly so they get that ball to skid and one to grab. We’ve done a bit of work at watching how they bowl and at the same time we’ve got to do what we do,” he added. READ: India vs New Zealand: Jimmy Neesham eyes return to old methods
New Zealand’s spin attack consists of Ish Sodhi, a leg-spinner, Mitchell Santner, a left-arm spinner, and Craig himself. Craig though, is wary of the fact that there will be alot of pressure on the trio to perform, but thinks they need to keep it simple.
“There’s a lot of expectation that falls on you [when] you go into spinning conditions, I think it’s key to not try and reinvent the wheel. Just keep doing what our boys have been doing and let the wicket do it for us,” he said. “Those boys have played [in India] a bit more than I have. So [I am] sitting next to them on the bus and talking shop so to speak, just about the paces to bowl and how the wickets generally are like and things like that. We’re always talking, pretty tight unit. The chance that a New Zealand side might play three spinners in a Test, if it goes ahead, is pretty exciting,” he added.
New Zealand will play in a three-day practice match against Mumbai XI, at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi on Friday.