South Africa v New Zealand, Champions Trophy, Group B, Centurion September 23, 2009

Elliott returns to his roots

Cricinfo staff
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Grant Elliott will take on the country of his birth when New Zealand play South Africa in Centurion on Thursday. Elliott's move to New Zealand in 2003 was triggered by a contractual dispute with Gauteng, but foremost in the decision was a dream to play international cricket. "I always wanted to play international cricket," Elliott told Cricket365. "I wasn't enjoying my cricket that much here, and I just needed a lifestyle change.

"I played for Gauteng, I had a contractual dispute with them, so that triggered me to look elsewhere as well. So I spoke to a couple of people before I left and I ended up fulfilling my dream of playing international cricket.

"I went there with an open mind for the first year to see if I enjoyed it and I really did."

Elliott made his international debut in the Napier Test against England in March 2008 but his career thus far in Tests has been restricted to three games; he averages just 6.75 in five innings. However, his record in ODIs represents a stark contrast; he's scored one century and two fifties and averages an impressive 48.40 in 23 games, and is now an integral part of the New Zealand middle order. Elliott, though, was confident of a comeback in the Test circuit.

"I was in the Test squad in Sri Lanka so I hope I get another opportunity," he said. "But opportunities come if you perform so if I keep piling on the runs then I'll get another opportunity to show what I'm capable of in the Test arena."

New Zealand are a part of a tough Group B in the Champions Trophy, and their form this year has been disappointing. However, Elliott was positive about his team's prospects. "I think every team should feel they have a chance of winning it. One-day cricket can be anyone's game going in to it," he said. "I think potentially we have a team that can win the Champions Trophy. I think you have to think positively, you have to come here to win the trophy and that's exactly what we're doing."