New Zealand in England 2013 May 22, 2013

McCullum to keep gloves at Leeds

24

Brendon McCullum is not the sort to shirk a challenge so when New Zealand's wicketkeeper, BJ Watling, was ruled out of the second Test at Headingley because of injury, he wasted little time in deciding to take up the gloves that he supposedly relinquished for good in Test cricket nearly three years ago.

McCullum kept for part of England's second innings at Lord's - without pads on day three - after Watling injured his left knee attempting to run out Joe Root with a dive. Watling left the field and speculation began over who would take the gloves at Headlingey.

Watling seemed to come through practise on Wednesday reasonably well to most observers, which begs the question whether New Zealand viewed his bruised knee as an injury of convenience after what McCullum himself described as their "hour of madness" - the collapse to 68 all out as England forced an abrupt victory in the opening Test at Lord's.

Watling's absence allows New Zealand to slot in Martin Guptill, who has extensive experience in English conditions with Derbyshire, as an extra batsman at No. 6, rather than as an opener in place of Peter Fulton whose tour of England has so far brought 34 runs in five knocks.

Captain, wicketkeeper and New Zealand's most pugnacious batsman: McCullum will not be short of roles when the second Test begins in Leeds on Friday. All this with a back complaint which puts him under strain whenever he returns to the keeping role.

McCullum announced that he would only keep wicket for New Zealand in limited-overs cricket after the IPL in 2010. In New Zealand's next Test against India in Ahmedabad, Gareth Hopkins deputised and in 24 subsequent Tests, the role has passed between Hopkins, Reece Young, Watling and Kruger van Wyk. Watling has been the only one to suggest he might make a long-term go of it and he can expect to return after this series.

Such heavy demands upon McCullum make it almost inevitable that Dan Vettori, a former New Zealand captain, will make his Test comeback for the first time for almost a year's absence with Achilles trouble. McCullum, an "ideas" captain, likes to keep lines of communication open with his bowlers, but he feel less need for endless dashes up and down the pitch in the middle of an over if he sees the familiar figure of Vettori fielding.

One of the New Zealand bowlers to recognise the advantage of that was Neil Wagner. He is a garrulous sort - a refreshing change in the sanitised media conferences of today - and it was all he could do to stop himself pronouncing that Vettori would definitely get the final place ahead of Doug Bracewell and an all-seam attack. These days at Headingley, the temptation to rely on pace bowling alone should be resisted because the pitches can show extremes of character and are just as likely to go flat if the clouds lift. Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire legspinner, took five wickets in the second match of the season at Headingley, so it should not automatically be assumed that a spinner has no role here.

"Brendon's back has been playing up a bit, but he is going to grit his teeth and do a job for the team, that's just the sort of guy that Brendon is," Wagner said. "There is going to be quite a bit of running up and down because he likes to talk to the bowlers about plans but having the opportunity maybe to have Dan at mid-on and mid-off and pick his brains and pass on messages will be pretty awesome.

"It's exciting seeing Dan around the changing room and training with us again. He is just one of those guys you can always rely on. He brings a good spirit into the team, and brings in humour in tough situations sometimes, but he also has such massive experience. If as a bowler you want to pick someone's brain, he is going to be the one you want to talk to."

Vettori will be a like-for-like replacement for his fellow left-arm spinner, Bruce Martin, who has left the tour because of a calf injury he picked up at Lord's. That will at least stop the England fans wondering - as they have for the past three months - why nobody is clobbering him down the ground.

Vettori, veteran of 112 Tests, bowled for half-an-hour, had a bat against some throw-downs and took some high catches on a middling Leeds morning, dry and largely overcast. Mike Hesson, New Zealand's coach, then rejected requests to speak to him, leaving the bowling coach, Shane Bond, to indicate that Vettori himself would be trusted to make the call on his fitness.

"He's the sort of guy who will know whether he can do it or not," Bond said. "He's got that experience and he knows how he's going physically. Either way I'm sure the right decision will be made."

Vettori's last Test came against West Indies in Antigua last July. After an inactive time in the IPL, even a long-haul flight from New Zealand could not disguise the feeling that he was itching to play again.

Vettori would join an attack that has come close to breaking England's batting on several occasions over the four Tests stretching back to March, something Wagner takes comfort from.

"We have come close a couple of times so it has been a bit frustrating for us as a bowling unit," he said. "At Lord's we got ourselves into a perfect position and then two guys came out with serious class and bowled unbelievably well.

"Jonny Bairstow at the moment is trying to find his feet a bit. Nick Compton played a bit of a rash shot in the first innings after showing a bit of patience. Matt Prior hasn't got a run in two innings. There is stuff we can thrive on."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • GrumpiusMaximus on May 23, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    Vettori is an excellent choice, provided he is fit and in relative form. He strikes me as a player that has a level of talent but has mainly put in hard work and discipline to get where he is. Not an outstanding batsman or bowler but a good tactician and skilled at all the major disciplines. He will give McCullum good support in the field, accurate and containing bowling and hopefully a few runs. I couldn't think of a more appropriate choice given that what New Zealand crave is stability.

    As an England supporter, I have to give some real credit to how New Zealand have played against us. Aside from the batting collapse (which was brought about really by some exceptional bowling and panic) New Zealand have really shown that they are a side that can compete. If they can consistently play like they have against England in the last few months, then they ought to rise up the rankings significantly soon.

  • on May 24, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    keep ur eyes out for cam fletcher recent u 20 player i hav a feeling over time he will be our next mcculum with hpefully the ability to stay batting longer at the top when the ball is swinging and seaming on slowish pitches. i feel ronchi will be past it at international level although he can prove me wrong. And derek de border second best keeper domestically will miss his chance with latham and watling ahead of him.

  • on May 24, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Get Ronchi in the team in all forms of the game, they need to use him now while he is still youngish, at 31 he probably has about 4 years in him & he is the next best keeper in NZ after McCullum & his batting just gets better & better, what does he have to do to prove himself. Most of the other keeper batsmen ie Waitling & Latham would just be club cricketers in AUS!

  • Greatest_Game on May 23, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    @v Gagg. I really about Ryder. In the batting collapse at Lords, Ryder should have have been sent out to hunt Broad. Take him on and to break him. No poking & prodding - full on assault. Could not have done worse if he failed! Broad's confidence & rhythm is fragile. Just seeing Ryder walk out would have had them thinking!

    In Adelaide 2012, de Villiers did the opposite as SA played for the draw. He refused to attack - 33 off 220 balls, & Aus were clueless. SA lost the top 4 in 20 overs. AB stayed 60 overs @ SR 15, followed by the injured Kallis. Aus expected Kallis the limpet, & he stayed 40 overs, but comparatively attacking @ SR 42. Both were accompanied by debutante du Plessis, thought by most as a 20/20 specialist. He he he! - yeah right! Those 3 saved the match by breaking the bowling & fielding rhythm again & again & again - for 117 overs.

    I'm a Saffer 1st, but support NZ, esp vs Poms & Aussies & really like this team. A bit more attack in the batting could do the trick.

  • Antipodean1 on May 23, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    this wont happen but

    1. Rutherford 2. Fulton/Watling 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. McCullum* 6. Brownlie/Guptil 7. Ronchi+ 8. Vettori 9. Southee 10. Wagner 11. Boult

  • KeithMillersHair on May 23, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    That's a glorious beard Dan is sporting in that picture! Bravo that man, and best of luck.

  • kiwicricketnut on May 23, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    Why take a back up keeper in latham in case of injury, then just go back to mccullum, don't get me wrong the team is probably better balanced having mccullum keep but whats the point of latham touring. In my opinion he should play for fulton anyway, he surely can't do any worse. I know they want to keep the team the same as much as they can for 'stability' but they should play bracewell for wagner in this test, not because wagner has done anything wrong but because our attack holds no surprises, the english havn't faced bracewell yet and he bowls a bit differently to the others, bowling into the wicket, worth a shot i reckon

  • on May 23, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    @Vijay: He is "keeping" the gloves that he took over in the First Test - it's not suggested that this is a synonym for "keeping wicket" generally. Beware of criticizing someone else's first language. ;)

  • on May 23, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    It should be either 'keep wickets' or 'wear or don gloves'. Not as above.

  • srikanths on May 23, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    When 6 batsmen fail, there is no reason to assume 7 th will not. I am not even sure whether Guptill the batsman is better than Luke Ronchi . Of course we know that Luke Rochi is better than Guptilll as a keeper ( atleast that is the assumtion since he wkt keeps full time)

  • GrumpiusMaximus on May 23, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    Vettori is an excellent choice, provided he is fit and in relative form. He strikes me as a player that has a level of talent but has mainly put in hard work and discipline to get where he is. Not an outstanding batsman or bowler but a good tactician and skilled at all the major disciplines. He will give McCullum good support in the field, accurate and containing bowling and hopefully a few runs. I couldn't think of a more appropriate choice given that what New Zealand crave is stability.

    As an England supporter, I have to give some real credit to how New Zealand have played against us. Aside from the batting collapse (which was brought about really by some exceptional bowling and panic) New Zealand have really shown that they are a side that can compete. If they can consistently play like they have against England in the last few months, then they ought to rise up the rankings significantly soon.

  • on May 24, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    keep ur eyes out for cam fletcher recent u 20 player i hav a feeling over time he will be our next mcculum with hpefully the ability to stay batting longer at the top when the ball is swinging and seaming on slowish pitches. i feel ronchi will be past it at international level although he can prove me wrong. And derek de border second best keeper domestically will miss his chance with latham and watling ahead of him.

  • on May 24, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Get Ronchi in the team in all forms of the game, they need to use him now while he is still youngish, at 31 he probably has about 4 years in him & he is the next best keeper in NZ after McCullum & his batting just gets better & better, what does he have to do to prove himself. Most of the other keeper batsmen ie Waitling & Latham would just be club cricketers in AUS!

  • Greatest_Game on May 23, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    @v Gagg. I really about Ryder. In the batting collapse at Lords, Ryder should have have been sent out to hunt Broad. Take him on and to break him. No poking & prodding - full on assault. Could not have done worse if he failed! Broad's confidence & rhythm is fragile. Just seeing Ryder walk out would have had them thinking!

    In Adelaide 2012, de Villiers did the opposite as SA played for the draw. He refused to attack - 33 off 220 balls, & Aus were clueless. SA lost the top 4 in 20 overs. AB stayed 60 overs @ SR 15, followed by the injured Kallis. Aus expected Kallis the limpet, & he stayed 40 overs, but comparatively attacking @ SR 42. Both were accompanied by debutante du Plessis, thought by most as a 20/20 specialist. He he he! - yeah right! Those 3 saved the match by breaking the bowling & fielding rhythm again & again & again - for 117 overs.

    I'm a Saffer 1st, but support NZ, esp vs Poms & Aussies & really like this team. A bit more attack in the batting could do the trick.

  • Antipodean1 on May 23, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    this wont happen but

    1. Rutherford 2. Fulton/Watling 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. McCullum* 6. Brownlie/Guptil 7. Ronchi+ 8. Vettori 9. Southee 10. Wagner 11. Boult

  • KeithMillersHair on May 23, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    That's a glorious beard Dan is sporting in that picture! Bravo that man, and best of luck.

  • kiwicricketnut on May 23, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    Why take a back up keeper in latham in case of injury, then just go back to mccullum, don't get me wrong the team is probably better balanced having mccullum keep but whats the point of latham touring. In my opinion he should play for fulton anyway, he surely can't do any worse. I know they want to keep the team the same as much as they can for 'stability' but they should play bracewell for wagner in this test, not because wagner has done anything wrong but because our attack holds no surprises, the english havn't faced bracewell yet and he bowls a bit differently to the others, bowling into the wicket, worth a shot i reckon

  • on May 23, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    @Vijay: He is "keeping" the gloves that he took over in the First Test - it's not suggested that this is a synonym for "keeping wicket" generally. Beware of criticizing someone else's first language. ;)

  • on May 23, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    It should be either 'keep wickets' or 'wear or don gloves'. Not as above.

  • srikanths on May 23, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    When 6 batsmen fail, there is no reason to assume 7 th will not. I am not even sure whether Guptill the batsman is better than Luke Ronchi . Of course we know that Luke Rochi is better than Guptilll as a keeper ( atleast that is the assumtion since he wkt keeps full time)

  • pt_pt on May 23, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Well done by McCullum for doing the keeping in this test if required. Vettori and Guiptill will add experience that is needed in the side and batting order now looks very solid in the middle. Williamson is there also to assist Vettori in the spin department and share the load if need be.

  • I-Like-Cricket on May 23, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Poor Luke Ronchi, isn't even NZ's second choice keeper

  • StevieS on May 23, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    I like this lineup, McCullum should stick to keeping as he just isn't consistant enough to be a batsman only. Throw Ryder in the mix and it's not to bad a team from 3 down.

  • woody.368 on May 23, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    This squad is the most promising kiwi squad i've seen in the recent years.but lack of consistency is the main obstacle.otherwise a team holding Taylor,McCullum,Kane,Southee deserves the honour to be regarded as a mojor rival in international arena.

  • SameOld on May 23, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    The batting will certainly look stronger with Vettori & Guptill, but that 'stronger' is still a long way from 'strong'.

    My big concern, though, is Baz and Dan's aging bodies. An injury to either will be disastrous; to both, catastrophic.

  • Itachi_san on May 23, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Let be honest, NZ can only compete in parts, and after this performance, their best bet is to draw, saying "the lads showed a lot of character, to come back from the defeat at lords". Wins like the one against Oz and Sri Lanka are one offs, and honestly feel like they'll happen after another 18 years(dont know after how long they won in sri lanka). There is a reason hey are ranked 8th, and have a horrid rate of winning test matches- they just don't know how to!

  • 22many on May 23, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    Yes Ronchi should be playing as the keeper/ batsman in this test team, but this management team will never select him just in case he does well....where then for McCullum if he fails again. So long as McCullum is keeping and batting at 7 then he should play....as a number 6 , the balance is out of wack.

  • on May 23, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    with vettoris leadership nd experience maybe nzs top order can grow a leg and bat well plus his bowling will help with KW's attacking off spin. Maybe NZ can bowl them out before 280 tommorow night if the weather holds for a days play

  • on May 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    Guptil ahead of ronchi, that has to be a mistake surely.I expect our batting to collapse again in at least one innings.

  • on May 22, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Although I have slammed Guptill's place before, him batting at 6 gives him a chance to bat without facing the new ball 100% of the time. Who knows, he could be as good as BMac was in NZ down the order. Love how our openers are now batting at 6 and 7 now though.

    Fulton/Rutherford/Kane/Ross/Brownlie/Guptill/BMac/Vettori looks fairly solid, with batting going down all the way to No.8. Surely they can give Southee & Co something to bowl at this time...hopefully?

  • iceaxe on May 22, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    Vettori seems a bit of a wildcard at the moment, but as a fresh player with vast experience he could be the surprise ingredient for NZ.

    Not so sure if McCullum should be keeping, as I'd hate to see him out with an injury, but who else is there that can fill the shoes like him?

    Apart from the 2nd innings meltdown by NZ, the 1st test was finely balanced. Looking forward to the next round and another tough fight which hopefully NZ will come out on top (or at least have respectability).

  • landl47 on May 22, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    Watling looked the best of the NZ batsmen in the second innings at Lord's even with his injury, so I'm not sure that NZ is picking up much in the batting by leaving him out. However, if he's hurt that's another matter. Martin bowled economically for NZ but didn't look much like taking wickets and recently Vettori has been the same. Still, Vettori's a better bat and his experience will be useful with McCullum stuck behind the stumps.

    NZ gave England's batsmen a good working over in the first test and England will be anxious to show they've learned something from that.

  • SirViv1973 on May 22, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    I don't think bringing Vettori back will aid NZL's cause. A May Headingly pitch is hardly likely to offer much for the spinners & he has had no preparation having not managed a FC game for 10 mths. Williamson looks a useful part time spinner so I would have thought given the likely conditions they could have just added Bracewell & gone with 4 seamers. I also think Guptill is lucky to be involved again. He has a very modest record & has played quite a few tests now & seems far more suited to the shorter formats. Wouldn't it have been an idea to bring Ronchi who is a good batsman in his own right, to keep wicket which would have allowed Mccullum to concentrate on his batting & skippering duties.

  • king78787 on May 22, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    This has suddenly turned from a predicatble outcome to a real thriller. Best NZ spinner ever, relaible batting down to number 8, a guy with extensive experience of headingly and a bowling that can truly rival England's. Should be MUCH closer. No chance of a collapse with such deep batting and a quality spinner. Alawys thought Vettori is the most underrated cricketer in the history of the game. True matchwinner on a spinning pitch, has as many test tons as Fulton,Rutherford,Brownlie and Guptill combined.Should be a absolute thriller:)

  • king78787 on May 22, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    This has suddenly turned from a predicatble outcome to a real thriller. Best NZ spinner ever, relaible batting down to number 8, a guy with extensive experience of headingly and a bowling that can truly rival England's. Should be MUCH closer. No chance of a collapse with such deep batting and a quality spinner. Alawys thought Vettori is the most underrated cricketer in the history of the game. True matchwinner on a spinning pitch, has as many test tons as Fulton,Rutherford,Brownlie and Guptill combined.Should be a absolute thriller:)

  • SirViv1973 on May 22, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    I don't think bringing Vettori back will aid NZL's cause. A May Headingly pitch is hardly likely to offer much for the spinners & he has had no preparation having not managed a FC game for 10 mths. Williamson looks a useful part time spinner so I would have thought given the likely conditions they could have just added Bracewell & gone with 4 seamers. I also think Guptill is lucky to be involved again. He has a very modest record & has played quite a few tests now & seems far more suited to the shorter formats. Wouldn't it have been an idea to bring Ronchi who is a good batsman in his own right, to keep wicket which would have allowed Mccullum to concentrate on his batting & skippering duties.

  • landl47 on May 22, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    Watling looked the best of the NZ batsmen in the second innings at Lord's even with his injury, so I'm not sure that NZ is picking up much in the batting by leaving him out. However, if he's hurt that's another matter. Martin bowled economically for NZ but didn't look much like taking wickets and recently Vettori has been the same. Still, Vettori's a better bat and his experience will be useful with McCullum stuck behind the stumps.

    NZ gave England's batsmen a good working over in the first test and England will be anxious to show they've learned something from that.

  • iceaxe on May 22, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    Vettori seems a bit of a wildcard at the moment, but as a fresh player with vast experience he could be the surprise ingredient for NZ.

    Not so sure if McCullum should be keeping, as I'd hate to see him out with an injury, but who else is there that can fill the shoes like him?

    Apart from the 2nd innings meltdown by NZ, the 1st test was finely balanced. Looking forward to the next round and another tough fight which hopefully NZ will come out on top (or at least have respectability).

  • on May 22, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Although I have slammed Guptill's place before, him batting at 6 gives him a chance to bat without facing the new ball 100% of the time. Who knows, he could be as good as BMac was in NZ down the order. Love how our openers are now batting at 6 and 7 now though.

    Fulton/Rutherford/Kane/Ross/Brownlie/Guptill/BMac/Vettori looks fairly solid, with batting going down all the way to No.8. Surely they can give Southee & Co something to bowl at this time...hopefully?

  • on May 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    Guptil ahead of ronchi, that has to be a mistake surely.I expect our batting to collapse again in at least one innings.

  • on May 23, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    with vettoris leadership nd experience maybe nzs top order can grow a leg and bat well plus his bowling will help with KW's attacking off spin. Maybe NZ can bowl them out before 280 tommorow night if the weather holds for a days play

  • 22many on May 23, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    Yes Ronchi should be playing as the keeper/ batsman in this test team, but this management team will never select him just in case he does well....where then for McCullum if he fails again. So long as McCullum is keeping and batting at 7 then he should play....as a number 6 , the balance is out of wack.

  • Itachi_san on May 23, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Let be honest, NZ can only compete in parts, and after this performance, their best bet is to draw, saying "the lads showed a lot of character, to come back from the defeat at lords". Wins like the one against Oz and Sri Lanka are one offs, and honestly feel like they'll happen after another 18 years(dont know after how long they won in sri lanka). There is a reason hey are ranked 8th, and have a horrid rate of winning test matches- they just don't know how to!

  • SameOld on May 23, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    The batting will certainly look stronger with Vettori & Guptill, but that 'stronger' is still a long way from 'strong'.

    My big concern, though, is Baz and Dan's aging bodies. An injury to either will be disastrous; to both, catastrophic.