In Mitchell Santner, New Zealand cricket found a strong resembling replacement for one of their veterans and the most successful bowler in ODIs, Daniel Vettori. And this was not just because Santner too bowled left-arm orthodox but mainly because he carried the same potential to perform and excel when he joined the team that Vettori had displayed in his younger days.
He toured England in 2015 but did not get to feature in the Tests, even though he was part of the squad for the same. He did however make the cut in the ODIs and the lone T20I that followed. Even though he is a bowling allrounder, a glimpse of his batting capabilities was seen in the 4th ODI where he smacked 44 off just 19 balls, coming in at No.7.
He had a decent T20I debut in the same tour, picking up 2/28 in his four overs, and was the best bowler for the Kiwis in that lone T20I. Santner shone in the 2016 World T20 for New Zealand, picking up 11 wickets in the tournament and got his career-best 4/11 against India in the very first game, where he and Ish Sodhi ran riot to bowl out India for just 79. But besides this, he had a rather lackluster 2016-17 season.
He is a very shrewd and intelligent bowler, unfortunately, the same could not spill over to his batting, in terms of performance, even though he possessed good technique and stable temperament. Santner was picked to play for Chennai in the 2018 Indian T20 League but missed the season owing to an injury. In the 2019 edition, Santner played 4 matches and managed to pick up 4 wickets at a decent economy rate. The next season, he was retained by the franchise, but he again failed to capitalize, playing just 2 matches and taking 2 wickets at an average of slightly above 26.
Santner also featured in all the games for the Black Caps in the 2019 World Cup. His most notable performance in the tournament came against India in the semi-final with figures of 2/34, wherein he picked the important wickets of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya, and was the second-best bowler in the game, behind Matt Henry’s 3 wickets.
After gaining a good amount of exposure in international and franchise cricket, Santner became an integral part of the Blackcaps and the selectors started to give him a leadership role as a part of their long-term thinking to prepare for the future. In November 2020 he was named as the captain of New Zealand for the T20 against West Indies as Kane Williamson and Treant Boult were given some rest. The head coach of the New Zealand team, Gary Stead has said that he has some long-term plans for him.