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September 28, 2009
When Andrew Strauss recalled Angelo Mathews during England's opening ICC Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka, he admitted the incident involving Ryan Sidebottom and Grant Elliott last year was on his mind. On that occasion, captain Paul Collingwood refused to recall Elliott, much to New Zealand's anger and their captain, Daniel Vettori, believes Strauss made the right call this time.
When Sidebottom and Elliott collided at The Oval, Collingwood had time to ask Elliott to come back and he suffered heavy criticism which ultimately played a role in him resigning the captaincy later in the season. Strauss has had an interesting few days at this tournament, following his Mathews decision by opting not to allow Graeme Smith a runner during his 141 at Supersport Park.
"I only saw it briefly but with what's gone on in the past it seemed like the right thing to do," Vettori said of the Mathews recall. "It was the easier option to make and quelled the situation quickly. If it worked the other way we would still be talking about it."
"It probably was in their minds," he added in reference to Elliott's run out. "I think it's probably in my mind as well. If I come across it what would I do there? Just like the runner issue they are all so individual and it is hard to make a blanket rule across the board. I still think the Sidebottom-Elliott incident was very different to the Mathews one. It's hard to make a general comment about all."
Vettori said that it was important for captains to maintain the spirit of the game when making on-field decisions in the heat of the battle. "I think people become worried about what will be said afterwards rather than what is right at the time," he said. "That's not the place you want to go, you want to make a truthful honest judgment at the time and you hope it's right. The unfortunate thing from the Elliott issue was that people were making decisions on what they think will be said afterwards as opposed to what actually happened."
England and New Zealand meet at the Wanderers on Tuesday in the final Group B qualifying match. New Zealand have to win to stay in the tournament, while England are assured of progressing but can cement top spot in the table with victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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