New Zealand left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner came in for heavy criticism during the ongoing second Test match against Australia in Melbourne for his ordinary display — both with the ball and the attire. The 27-year-old failed to keep up the pressure on the hosts after the pacers gave some early breakthroughs and conceded 82 runs in 20 overs without any reward.
Santner’s dull bowling even saw captain Kane Williamson moving him out of the attack and making a batsman (Tom Blundell) bowl after the lunch on Day 2. New Zealand media called it the “ultimate humiliation” for the bowler and said his place in the Test side has come under serious scrutiny.
While Williamson came under criticism from his predecessor Brendon McCullum for making Blundell to bowl and allowing the home batsmen to settle down, The New Zealand Herald’s Niall Anderson said “It was a remarkable statement for Williamson to make” and added that despite bowling a few long-hops, Blundell yet came up with a delivery that beat the outside edge of Australia’s centurion Travis Head (114).
“Mitchell Santner’s spot in the Black Caps Test side is under serious scrutiny after he was handed the ultimate humiliation by captain Kane Williamson,” Anderson added. Santner went wicketless also in the first Test where he conceded 146 runs in two innings while the drawn Test against England before that, the left-armer gave 88 runs for just one wicket in 35 overs.
Mitchell Santner fit for ODIs and not Tests: Mark Waugh
However, Santner’s prospects as a Test all-rounder were gaining shape as he slammed his career-best 126 against England at Mount Maunganui and taking three wickets in a match-winning pursuit. But his low show in the next game in Hamilton saw the jubilation lasting briefly.
The spate of toothless bowling over the last few innings has seen Santner’s average going above 45 and former Australia batsman Mark Waugh was brutal in his take on the Kiwi, saying he is an ODI and not a Test bowler.
“He’s a one-day bowler, not a test match bowler. If you’re an orthodox bowler the one thing you’ve got to have is accuracy, yet he doesn’t have that,” news.com.au quoted Mark Waugh as saying.
Santner has a much better average in T20Is (less than 19) and ODIs (around 36) compared to Tests. Santner also came under criticism from former Australia spinner Shane Warne for not tucking his shirt in while bowling. Warne asked him to tuck the shirt in, reminding him that he is not playing club cricket.
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