New Zealand opener Will Young on Saturday credited his coach Gary Stead for teaching him the art of playing spin after hitting a career-best 89 in tough batting conditions on day three of the Kanpur Test against India.
The 29-year old laid a solid foundation for the visiting side with a fluent half-century and stitched a crucial 151-run partnership for the first wicket along with Tom Latham. En route to his knock of 89 studded with 14 boundaries, the right-handed batter said it was a rigorous stint with Stead early in his career, which helped him tackle the spinners well.
Young shared insights on his training in a virtual press conference and said, "It was three or four years ago now. He had just come back, and I jumped on the back of a bunch of fellow cricketers to learn about the art of batting and playing spin in India.
"At one point, Gary and I were training for nearly two weeks, and one of the drills was the sweep without the front pad on. It was about sweeping 'the balls; otherwise, you would get bruised. So it was one thing Gary taught me, and yeah, it's still a work in progress," Young recalled about his stint with his then Canterbury Cricket Club coach.
The right-handed batter was drafted in the side for injured Devon Conway and made most of his opportunity with the bat to help the Kiwis get off to a steady start. However, Young fell agonisingly short by 11 runs to his maiden hundred as Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed him to give India their first wicket in 67 overs.
"You can't just rest on your laurels. I'm grateful for another opportunity to represent New Zealand and contribute with the bat. Different days, different methods work. It is tricky to find that balance between defence, spending time in the middle and getting used to those conditions and also aggression, and how to take those calculated risks to keep the scoreboard ticking over, " he said.
With Axar Patel scalping his fifth five-wicket haul in Test cricket and Ashwin returning with figures of 3/82, the wicket is helping the spinners. "Right from day one, there were visible cracks on the wicket. The cracks are opening up a little further, as well as three days' worth of bowlers' footmarks and a bit of rough for the spinners to aim. A little bit of uneven bounce too. I think a lot of our batsmen today were beaten by low bounce," he said.
On Friday, the Kiwi opening pair became the first visiting opening combination in five years to stitch a century partnership against India in India.
"Tom's a lovely man, a very cool customer, very successful in these conditions. I had the pleasure of batting with him in club cricket. He was awesome. We discussed various options of where to score and how to score. It was just nice to tick off a milestone that really. Hopefully, we can replicate the same, " he concluded.
(With inputs from PTI)