Mitchell Josef Santner, born on February 5, 1992, is a cricketing sensation from New Zealand who has made a significant impact in all formats of the game. Representing the Northern Districts cricket team domestically, Santner is renowned as a bowling all-rounder with the unique combination of a left-handed batting style and slow left-arm orthodox spin. His journey in the world of cricket is marked by noteworthy achievements and a promising future.
Elevating Towards the New Zealand Team
Santner’s rise to prominence began after an impressive 2014–15 domestic season. Following the retirement of the legendary Daniel Vettori after the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand was in search of a left-arm spin option. Santner was then drafted into the touring squad for the England tour, covering for players participating in the Indian Premier League. His introduction to international cricket was memorable, highlighted by a well-crafted 94 against Somerset. Despite having played just 19 List A matches for Northern Districts, he made his One Day International debut at Edgbaston, showcasing his potential on the big stage.
Captaincy and International Appearances
In November 2020, Santner had the honor of captaining New Zealand for the first time in an international fixture during the third Twenty20 International (T20I) match against the West Indies, showcasing his leadership qualities. He assumed the captaincy role once again in the first T20I match against Pakistan.
Rapid Rise in Limited-Overs Cricket
Santner’s international career took off in April 2015 when he was named in the New Zealand limited-overs squad for the tour of England. He made his One Day International debut for New Zealand on June 9, 2015, and quickly left his mark by trapping fellow debutant Sam Billings for 3. Notably, during the fourth ODI in the same series, he scored 28 runs off Adil Rashid in a single over, the second-highest runs ever scored off one over in England. He made his Twenty20 International debut in the same series on June 23, 2015.
Test Cricket Debut
On November 27, 2015, Santner achieved a lifelong dream by making his Test debut against Australia, marking a historic moment as it was the first-ever day/night Test. In a memorable start to his Test career, he hit a boundary off the first ball, etching his name in the annals of cricket history.
2016 World Twenty20 Success
Santner was a vital part of the New Zealand squad in the 2016 World Twenty20 as a premier spin bowler. In a match against host India, he was awarded the Man of the Match for his outstanding bowling performance, which contributed to New Zealand’s victory by 47 runs. His bowling figures of 4 for 11 in that match set a record for the best bowling figures by a New Zealand spinner in a World Twenty20 tournament. His exceptional performance earned him a place in the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2016 T20 World Cup as recognized by the ICC, Cricinfo, and Cricbuzz.
Spinning with Jeetan Patel
In 2017, Santner and Jeetan Patel created history by becoming the first pair of spinners to open the bowling in an ODI during the 4th ODI.
On January 16, 2018, Santner made headlines by dismissing Pakistani cricketer Fakhar Zaman with a carrom ball, a skill he had been diligently working on to enhance his repertoire.
In March 2018, Santner encountered a setback when a knee injury ruled him out of the Test series against England. This unfortunate turn of events also led to the cancellation of his plans to play in English county cricket with Derbyshire and the Indian Premier League in 2018.
Recognition and Contracts
Despite the challenges, Santner’s talent remained undeniable. In May 2018, he was one of the twenty players awarded a new contract for the 2018–19 season by New Zealand Cricket.
Making a Comeback
Santner made a successful international comeback in January 2019, playing in T20Is, ODIs, and Tests against Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. His return to international cricket showcased his resilience and determination.
Cricket World Cup Appearance
In April 2019, Santner’s name was included in New Zealand’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, where he played a crucial role in the team’s campaign.
IPL and T20 Success
Santner made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for the Chennai Super Kings in 2019, making a significant impact. He played a pivotal role in a thrilling match against the Rajasthan Royals, where he hit a six off the last ball to secure victory.
In November 2019, Santner achieved a historic feat by scoring his maiden test century against England at Bay Oval. His partnership with BJ Watling set a new record as the highest-ever 7th wicket partnership for New Zealand in test cricket. Additionally, he took 3 wickets in the second innings, becoming the first New Zealand spinner to claim a wicket on home soil since March 2018, breaking a streak of 101