Will Somerville: A batter who can bowl, or a bowler who can bat?

Will Somerville arrived on the Indian shores as the second choice spinner for New Zealand behind Ajaz Patel in the two match test series.

No luck with the ball

However, he returned wicketless. His role in the final outcome of the series was exacerbated when in fact he was the player because of whom Neil Wagner was not included in the New Zealand XI, owing to the spin friendly wickets in India.

But, the New Zealand off spinner failed to come up with the goods and was wicketless in the four innings of the two test matches, thus not providing the help that the likes of Tim Southee and Ajaz Patel needed.

Not only that, he could also not bowl dry spells for a long time and leaked runs which hurt New Zealand quite badly.

Inviting criticism

Despite New Zealand saving the Kanpur test match, famous New Zealand commentator Ian Smith came down hard on the likes of Will Somerville for not being able to pick up the wickets that were expected of him.

“Surviving today is temporarily sealing the cracks. We have to get more revolutions on the ball and stop hiding in the grass. It’s so lopsided in their favour it’s not funny. Just as it is for the quicks when we host teams here. Unfortunately, though for us, that is now coming to our detriment in the subcontinent, and we’ll always do so unless we learn to play it better.”

“The greatest of the tweakers, Shane Warne, marvelled at our success in winning the World Test Championship final but without having [or] using a spinner. He did say it was somewhat disappointing and a poor reflection. He’s a tad biased to spin, we know that, but we need to shift ours a little bit more in that direction. We have to learn to bowl it better, and when we do, we’ll learn how to play it better. It might be time to invest in some full-time overseas coaching or maybe discover an import who can turn it square.”

A tough step-up

Sommerville is actually a decent first class bowler with an average of around 30 in first class cricket but he wasn’t able to convert his first class returns at the international level.

Somerville did show some solid defensive technique and played a major role in New Zealand saving the Kanpur test match but failed to deliver in his primary role, which is picking up wickets with his off spin.

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