London : Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has lauded New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell for his sterling show in the recently-concluded Test series against England, saying that it was incredible to see him come out and dominate the hosts’ bowling attack.
Though New Zealand lost the series 3-0, Mitchell’s form with the willow was a clear standout for the visitors’, ably supported by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. He was adjudged the Player of the Series, having made the most runs (538) from either side, a record aggregate for a New Zealand batter in a three-Test series.
He cracked a century each in all three Tests at Lord’s, Trent Bridge and Leeds apart from hitting two half-centuries, achieving a career-best Test batting ranking of 12.
“It has been incredible to see Daryl Mitchell come into this England series and just dominate. I know how hard it is to be able to score runs over in England and for him to play his first Test in England at Lord’s and bat the way he did, where it can be one of the most challenging places to bat because of the slope alone, was special. Daryl Mitchell just ate it up as he did throughout the series,” said Watson on The ICC Review Show.
Mitchell did not earn his first Test cap until the age of 28 and he only received a call-up to take on England in Hamilton 2019 because fellow all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was injured. But it was in the recent series against England that Mitchell caught the attention of the cricketing world. Watson believes that Mitchell making his debut later in his cricketing career than many of his teammates has helped him at the crease.
“It can work in your favour by debuting later. If you debut early in your career, especially in Test cricket, you are still working through your technique, your gameplan, your mindset and you can get exposed in your early to mid-20s. But when you get more of a chance halfway through your career then you’ve typically got all the facets (of your game) together.”
“You’ve got a deep understanding of your game, what works and the appreciation that hasn’t always been there. He is just going out there and really enjoying himself, enjoying the competition, enjoying the changing room and being with his mates as well. Nine times out of ten that’s when you play with freedom and access all the skills you’ve got and Daryl Mitchell has certainly shown that.”
Watson predicted that Mitchell will become an even better player in the future. “You can see that with Daryl Mitchell, it’s like he’s in total control of every ball. From the first ball he faces all the way through his whole innings he looks to be in so much control and that’s the thing I’ve been so impressed by. He’s going to continue to hurt a lot of bowling attacks around the world in the next few years.