New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner knows pretty well the kind of threat the Indian captain Virat Kohli throws up for their team but made it clear that they are in the sub-continent to fight and hopefully win the series against the No. 1 side in the ODIs. Speaking about his plans to keep Kohli quiet, Santner revealed, "Not easy. He's a very good player, and so is a lot of their team. They're in good form, the way they played against Australia was very good. The last time we came here, we did OK. Hopefully we can do one better this time and take the series." Santner feels that the key to success against India's much-vaunted batting line-up would be to bowl reasonably quick and induce mistakes from the Indian batters.
India and New Zealand will lock horns in a limited-overs series, comprising three ODIs and an equal number of T20 Internationals, starting October 22.
"It is tough (to bowl against India), they are very good players of spin. They have grown up playing spin. I just try to keep it pretty simple," Santner said ahead of his team's practice game against Board President's XI on Tuesday.
"Bowl the ball reasonably quick on the surface and make the batsmen commit a mistake. If you get a few dots and build pressure that way, you can hopefully get a few wickets. That's what I'll be trying to do," he added.
According to Santner, his past experience will help him in this series.
"We haven't been here for a while. But for me, it's about taking those past experiences of the way I bowled over here, and the way to bowl spin over here. So I'll be looking to do that," he added.
The legendary Daniel Vettori has had plenty of experience of bowling in India and Santner has taken his advice. "I have (learnt from him). He's a very good left-arm spinner. I am not trying to bowl miracle balls every ball. It's about tying up a batsman and waiting for them to make a mistake.
"Especially on wickets that offer a little bit, I watched a lot of Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. They just try to bowl very consistent and in good areas and wait for the batsmen to hit a big shot and get out or run past one. I have taken a little bit of footage from there", he added.
Santner said the in-form all-rounder Hardik Pandya is a concern but the Kiwis were ready with ways to tackle him. "He is a very good striker. He tends to hit down the ground very good. So I guess it's key to take the length off him. I saw him hit (Adam) Zampa for 3 sixes in an over. So, once he hits one, he wants to keep going.
"So if you can tie him down or make him hit singles, hopefully he will try to play a big shot and go for a ball that's not quite there. But yeah he's a very good player and striker. So we have to beware," he said.
Santner said personally he enjoys bowling in India. "It always tends to spin here more, which is a good thing for me as a spinner. But yeah the Indians are very good players of spin, and we have to work really hard.
"Hopefully get a little bit of turn out there, but just hopefully be able to control them a little bit. Try and get a few dots in the over and try and be happy with maybe 4 an over. Looking forward to the series, " he said.
Santner played a crucial role in New Zealand's win against India in the opening match of World T20 last year and the bowler has fond memories of the game.
"I think on that day, we did keep it pretty simple, tried to bowl relatively quick. Didn't try and give them too much and let them make a mistake. We can learn from that experience and take it into this series. We have to adapt, if it's not going to spin as much then you might have to change the way we bowl," Santner recalled.
(With PTI inputs)