NZ to manage Vettori workload
Daniel Vettori's distinguished Test career is not about to be "swept away", in the words of his captain Brendon McCullum, but even as he returns to fitness New Zealand have accepted they must manage the later stages of his career with care after reluctantly ruling him out of the second Test against England at Headingley.
Vettori was enthusiastic enough to jump on a plane and travel around the world to try to bail out New Zealand but not fit enough to play. He has sat on the bench throughout the 2013 IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore and now, eight months after his last New Zealand appearance at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, New Zealand are facing up to the fact that, at 34, his workload will never be the same again.
"It's something we're going to have to discuss down the track," McCullum admitted. "It's going to be a rolling conversation that we need to have with Dan as to what he needs to prioritise with where he's at in his career.
"It would be nice to think that he'd be able to play every game in all three forms but it's not realistic. I certainly see a place for him in the team. It would be silly for us to sweep away 112 Test matches, nearly 400 wickets and six Test centuries.
"He jumped on a plane as soon as he got the phone call. He's a great guy to have around, a tremendous player and he's always keen to help out the NZ cricket team. But he didn't scrub up that well today and the confidence to go into a five-day game with the workload he's had was just a bridge too far.
"It was a very rational decision from all of us on Dan. He wasn't quite confident he'd be able to get through the entire five days and he didn't want to let the team down."
McCullum was honest enough to admit that the wish to protect Vettori's fitness for the Champions Trophy influenced their decision. When it comes to surviving a five-day Test, there is no substitute for match practice, especially if that substitute is in an inactive series at the IPL and a lifestyle based upon lightweight training sessions, internal flights and a room service menu.
"I guess that was one of the things we looked at as well," McCullum said. "In terms of his playing opportunity in this game, would we sacrifice the coming few weeks? That wasn't the right thing for Dan or for us."
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo