Q+A with Ish Sodhi

You're a player who obviously lives and breathes cricket - how has it been coming into the NZ side?
I'm a cricket nut - a lot of the people I've played with would tell you that. I've really enjoyed coming and seeing what the team is like from the inside. I love the game and I'll always be a fan - I'm always watching old games and watching other teams or countries play. That might die down as I get older, but for now, yeah, I'm still a real fan!

You've come up through the grades very quickly - do you feel you've missed out on some of that first class experience? 
I think I've made my biggest gains in the last six months, and become a bit more mature - I had to do a lot of hard yards in the gym, and put the work in. I felt like I'd done everything I possibly could to do my best, and putting that into practice was good. It does bother me a bit a bit that I haven't played that much first class cricket yet, but I just concentrate on the process - I've still got a lot of experience to get at the first class level, so once I start playing there, I'll get that experience, and as long as I'm getting the processes right, I'm happy. 

Are you looking forward to putting what you've learned here into practice back home? 
That's massive for me - I want to learn and get better as a player myself and also help my team out. I read the other day that Dan Vettori might play the first four-dayer, and I'm so excited about playing alongside him and seeing how he goes about his business and soaking it all up - seeing it first hand is priceless, you know. 

It seems like you took a really positive mindset when you batted? 
My first innings was only five balls, but my mindset was a bit too nervous - I don't really work like that, I'm not really giving myself the best chance. So it was good in the first Test second innings when we needed quick runs as we had a declaration coming up - I got a couple away in that innings and it gave me a lot of confidence. Mike Hesson and Bob Carter have been very supporting, like "You play your natural game, don't be phased by it all." I like to score runs, you know, I went out and tried to execute that as best I could, so it worked out quite well. If you;d told me at the start of the series I'd score a Test 50 at number ten I would have thought you were joking, you know. 

At some stage you're going to be nervous, but you have to go out and tackle that head on, you have to be a professional and you have to get the job done. So yes, I was pretty chuffed with that and felt like I contributed to the side with the bat as well. That's all I want to do at the end of the day, contribute to the side, and if I can do that with the bat, I'm pretty happy. 

You were the talk of Twitter a few times during the two Tests - is there anything you want to say to the fans back home?
Just to everyone back at home, thanks for everything. It's amazing 'cos I grew up in a pretty small town - I think I'm the first BLACKCAP to come out of my school, Papatoetoe High School. I remember when I was in New Zealand under 19s, I asked if my name would go up on the board, but they said it was only if I played for the top side! So now I can go back and see it up there! 

People have been so supportive, and it was awesome having my Dad here for the second Test as well, you know. Just, thanks for everything, and hopefully I can keep going. It's so amazing playing for your country, I can't really put it into words. Brendon McCullum said before Chittagong, you probably won't remember much about your first Test - I thought he was having a laugh, but at the end of it, I was like "What just happened? Five days just went like that, I just played a Test match!" It was actually crazy. 

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