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Daniel Vettori: 100 Tests

The Atlas of the antipodes

As he stands on the brink of 100 Tests, we look at where New Zealand's jack of all trades ranks in his country's pantheon

David Leggat

March 25, 2010

Comments: 77 | Text size: A | A

Plenty to ponder for Daniel Vettori, New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Wellington, 3rd day, December 5, 2009
Vettori is far and away the best spinner New Zealand have produced © Getty Images

There's an advertisement running on New Zealand sports channels at the moment featuring Dan Vettori.

He is watching television when several of his New Zealand team-mates turn up, wanting to switch channels. Argument ensues. To cut to the chase, it finishes with Vettori putting his head in his hands and slowly shaking it.

It might not have been the intention, but when you consider his importance to the New Zealand cause, and the half-baked efforts of others in the team at various points this summer, it is amusingly appropriate.

In this week's second Test against Australia, starting in Hamilton on Saturday, Vettori brings up his 99th or 100th Test, depending on how you view the ill-starred World XI game against Australia in 2005. Include it, and Vettori's bringing up his ton this week; treat the relevant mark as nation against nation, it will happen in Bangladesh in a few months' time. Either way it's a remarkable achievement for the bespectacled allrounder, who joins the man he replaced as captain, Stephen Fleming, as New Zealand's only 100-Test cricketer.

There are statistics that bear testimony to his influence within the New Zealand game. Consider just one: Vettori's Test batting average is 30.9; in the period he has taken over the captaincy, 26 Tests beginning in November 2007, that number is 44.07. His bowling average is also fractionally superior in that shorter period. Therefore it is a short hop to contend that the 31-year-old seems to be thriving, in personal terms, with the leadership.

Recently a sports commentator posed the question: Is Vettori New Zealand's finest cricketer?

These sort of subjective topics are great for whiling away idle hours, but if there are firm and conflicting viewpoints, you usually don't get far. In this instance, the answer is no. Here's a handful of names to ponder, in rough chronological order: Bert Sutcliffe, John R Reid, Glenn Turner, Sir Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe. You'll find any number of supporters to argue each of those players has credentials superior to Vettori's.

How does he sit among the finest spinners New Zealand has produced? Now we're talking.

The answer is, head and shoulders clear of the rest.

New Zealand does not have an especially rich tradition of spin bowlers. Only one other has got to 100 Test wickets, offspinner John Bracewell, who was an immensely competitive, combative player. In his prime, a team of Bracewells wouldn't lose many matches, but there would be plenty of trips to the match referee's room.

There have been three other left-arm orthodox slow men of note: Tom Burtt, burly and gifted, but a liability in the field, in the years after the Second World War; Hedley Howarth, who churned through a mountain of overs in exhausting conditions in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the subcontinent and in the West Indies; and Stephen Boock, a thoroughly competitive and humorous man, who once kissed the Eden Park pitch en route to one for a bucketload against Javed Miandad and his chums 21 years ago.

Vettori is not among the biggest turners of a ball. His strengths include flight and variations, accumulated wisdom gleaned from 13 years in the big time. He is a treat to watch at work. One of his strongest attributes is best seen in side-on replays of an over. He uses changes of pace, with no noticeable change in action, and to excellent effect. As they stretch out, or advance down the pitch, batsmen find they are not quite there.

At times Vettori has had to be more defensive than he might wish - a case of necessity rather than preference. Rarely has he marked out his run with 450 or more runs to work with.

One of Vettori's strongest attributes is best seen in side-on replays of an over. He uses changes of pace, with no noticeable change in action, and to excellent effect. As they stretch out, or advance down the pitch, batsmen find they are not quite there

So try this question for size: How important a figure has Vettori become to New Zealand cricket?

Tom Lowry and Walter Hadlee were the early giants of the game. Reid was captain on the occasion of New Zealand's first Test win, against West Indies at Eden Park in 1956; he added Test wins No. 2 and 3 in South Africa six summers later to his resume, and was a colossus of the game. Among his claims to a place at the game's top table in New Zealand was his longevity as a national selector. He wanted a say in who he was leading through the gate and got it.

Now Vettori is in the same situation: captain and selector. It is not a double role for which he has received universal support. His fellow selectors are coach Mark Greatbatch and former captain and batting champion Glenn Turner. One advocate in his corner is Reid, who knows why Vettori wanted the extra responsibility, and supports his right to a strong say in who walks onto the field behind him.

It is an old argument: should there be a clear line between the occupiers of the dressing room and those who put them there? How do players view their captain when they know he is one of those who hold the key to their immediate place in the side? Vettori has maintained he will make hard calls when required.

At this moment he is his team's best bowler, possesses among their safest pair of hands in the field, and is perhaps their most reliable source of runs. Throw in the captaincy and selectorial roles and he has a full plate. Remember, he was also doubling up as de facto coach during the gap between the departure of Andy Moles and the appointment of Greatbatch, although he didn't much care for the terminology and didn't feel he was doing anything differently in his handling of the team.

Vettori's significance to his country's game can be traced back to his debut, against England in 1997. There was no gentle introduction, no bedding-in period for New Zealand's youngest Test player, at 18 years 10 days. He bowled more overs than anyone else in England's only innings, at the Basin Reserve, during a hefty innings loss (and he batted No. 11, below Simon Doull and Geoff Allott, which on reflection is a hoot).

A few days later he was asked to square the series in the final Test in Christchurch. Chasing 305, England won by four wickets. Of the 146.4 overs it took, Vettori wheeled through 57, more than double anyone else. It was a ludicrous load on slender shoulders.

So, being an integral part of New Zealand cricket is nothing new for Vettori.

New Zealand's finest cricketer? A matter of opinion, so no. Their most influential? Right up there.

David Leggat is chief cricket writer and chief sports reporter of the New Zealand Herald

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by zohebchampion on (March 28, 2010, 5:04 GMT)

Sir Richard Hadlee is well ahead of Daniel Vettori. Hadlee's achievements during 80's and 90's against many all time best teams will possibly remain unparrallel in New Zealand's cricketing history. Vettori is the best player in the current NZ team but it is also true this New Zealand side is one of the weakest they have ever had.The overall standard of the oponent sides has also fallen down quite significantly.

Posted by   on (March 27, 2010, 21:54 GMT)

Hey aglubb002 - Yesterday actually

Posted by   on (March 27, 2010, 7:11 GMT)

Vettori may or may not be the best cricketer, New Zealand ever had. These types of questions will never be answered to the satisfaction of all. These things are subjective. But look how he leads the side by example. What a beauty it is to see him coming with the small run up to bowl. The easy action and the never say die attitude. he is not at all bothered with the result either with the bat or the ball. if ever the Kiwis become the world champion in any form of cricket, it would be entirely due to the efforts of this one man army.

Posted by vetnry on (March 26, 2010, 22:25 GMT)

Vettori may not be the all time NZ greatest cricketer but as an ambassador of the game, one can't go passed him. One only has to go back a year to the world ODI in Africa when NZ played England and Collingwood walked out of his crease to congratulate his partner and was stumped. Vettori immediately recalled the batsman who went ont o score a useful 70 odd but not enough to win the game. All this was in the light of a similar incident during a game betwwen NZ and England at the Oval in which a NZ player was similarly caught out his ground when Collingwood the England captain allowed the successful appeal to stand. An eye for an eye? No way- Dan earned the enduring respect of the cricketing world and his greatness is the spirit and intelligence in which he plays the game

Posted by CoolBarn on (March 26, 2010, 21:48 GMT)

Anyone who says Vettori is New Zealand's finest cricketer is either below the age of 30, or has short-term memory loss. Anyone who saw the great Richard Hadlee bowl for any period of time KNOWS he is the greatest in kiwi history.

Let's not get carried away. Vettori stands out because he has been surrounded by some very average cricketers for a very long time. He always gives his best, and is excellent in a scrap (not something we can always say about his team-mates).

A very valuable cricketer to his nation. A very good cricketer no doubt. But should not even be suggested as his nation's finest, as he (and everyone else for that matter) is so far behind Hadlee it's not funny.

Posted by bonner on (March 26, 2010, 21:26 GMT)

According to the 2 Tests mentioned against England Vettori scored 59 runs for once out (over 4 innings). Not bad for a young fella, hey?

Posted by masterblaster1971 on (March 26, 2010, 20:29 GMT)

There is NO way in the world Vettori is NZ's best cricketer of all time. Granted he is up there as a quality no8, and left arm spin bowler, but lets face it, has he CONSTANTLY won games for us like Hadlee? If you are talking a true 'match winner' look back at how many times Hadlee pulled us out of a loosing situation to a winning one. That's where champions are born....

Posted by aglubb002 on (March 26, 2010, 20:20 GMT)

harryspooner, I am a Kiwi. You could say Astle & Fleming also carried a lot on their shoulders. At test level, Hauritz picks up wickets, they are probably similar but my point is that there are better ones ie Swann is clearly superior, he does what you need a spinner to do. For all you Vettori fans. when was the last time Vettori took a bag of wickets against a decent test playing nation. Ponting is a very underrated captain, he knows how to harness his talent. NZ doesn't lack talent, more so experience. Vettori is more effective as a test batsmen than bowler these days, his bowling hasn't kicked on - its a tragedy.

Posted by kamerryn on (March 26, 2010, 20:19 GMT)

@ Aglubb002 - "NZ now plays about 3/10's of its games against WI, Bangers and Zimb."

Hardly a telling stat. There are 10 test playing nations, of which NZ is one. Assuming that equal numbers of games are played against the remaining nine nations, in fact you'd reasonably expect NZ to play 3/9 of its games against "WI, Bangers and Zimb."

Posted by tjdo on (March 26, 2010, 19:58 GMT)

Is Dan the best? Ask just one simple question - exactly where would NZC be now without him? He bats, he bowls, he fields, he captains, he coaches, he selects, he encourages, he cajoles, he takes the blame, he carries the team every inch of the way (he probably prepares the team sandwiches & cleans the pavilion windows in his spare time) & he does it all uncomplainingly & quite brilliantly, tasks that would fell a lesser man. Although only 31, he seems to have been around since the dawn of time & it has been one of my greatest pleasures to watch this fantastic man grow from a scrawny gawky youth to a mature adult, bearded like the pard, at the very top of his chosen profession. He is the lionheart, the lifeblood & the inspiration of his team & he is pure gold. His contribution is unparalled & NZ really is the closest I have seen to a one-man team. But what a man - a true gentleman & spotlight-shunning superstar & my cricketing hero. Is Dan the best? You betcha!!

Posted by essargopalan on (March 26, 2010, 17:54 GMT)

The way he carries himself on & Off the field is really amazing. He is a kind of guy who likes challenges. The way he handles all his various responsibility shows his basic commitment & honesty to NZ cricket.To get respect from your team & Managment at the same time is the most difficult thing and he is able to get that which is amazing and it shows his honest approach to his job.He strives to improve and he is so inspiring. I like to congragulate him. Wish we see him more & more.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2010, 14:19 GMT)

I am die hard supporter of Indian Team, at the same time I respect true sportsmen like Daniel Vettori, Cricket is gentle man's game, Daniel Vettori is a true example on that, he is having avery good control on his temper, allways cool and gives true comments wen ever he lost any game, appreciates the opponents, with al these qualities offcourse he is the best captain in cricket world at the moment

Posted by elrici on (March 26, 2010, 12:47 GMT)

Hadlee is a walk up start at number 9 in any Worldl XI in history. Vettori is a frings player in a current world XI

The debate is ridiculous and an insult to Sir Richard Hadlee It's like comparing Mike Hussey to Dan Bradman

Posted by Daps277 on (March 26, 2010, 12:17 GMT)

Yes...he probably is the greatest player to play for NZ..i mean there are still great players like Hadlee, Martin crowe, Stephen Fleming who are in the same league but different roles Dan performes these days its hard to overlook his contributions to the NZ cricket, he is their best bowler, best batsmen (unfortunately),captain, coach, selector what not!!! i is there anybody else in world cricket who performes so many different roles??? he is defenetly the most powerful man of NZC..and the best part is he carries all these roles wit ease...Add to that the humble nature of the man, his willingness to learn, amazing, he has always remained out of controversies, he has been the backbone of NZC for a while now..thats what makes this man unique and greatest of em all..

Posted by firey1 on (March 26, 2010, 12:09 GMT)

"Vettori is not overrated"

Very overrated, The rest of the Kiwis just make him look better than he actually is. I'm not saying he's bad, just not that good.

NZ's best? Not by a long shot.

Posted by Another_brick_in_the_wall on (March 26, 2010, 11:41 GMT)

I don't know much about the players from previous generations in NZ, but in this generation he is the best NZ have produced. In any case, I think he will walk into NZ All time 11 hands down. Chris Cairns better than Vettori ? Thats a worthless attempt at even a joke. And Ricky Ponting - a motivator ? Well, thats a joke alright... Dan and Fleming have had to do with mediocre teams over the years, if these teams existed in India or even Australia they would have fared even worse. So, lets give the credit where it is due... Vettori is no doubt a modern great...

Posted by ezzanevawaz on (March 26, 2010, 9:10 GMT)

A great team man , a very competent spinner and a gutsy unorthodox yet talented batsman. Would be a match winner on suitable wickets with better team support. New Zealand no longer churns out wickets to suit our teams limitations , so we can't get the results of the 80's and early nineties anymore. If were are unable to produce good fast bowlers , we should encourage spin development. Quality spin from two ends on a minefield , works for other teams. Trouble is we seldom pick a second spinner , so there's a lack of experience at test level for Patel , McCullum or whomever could support dan. Plus our tracks are seldom dry enough to turn as the weather here is so wet for the first half of the season.

Posted by plow on (March 26, 2010, 8:16 GMT)

Vettori is NZ's second best ever cricketer. imo Hadlee is number one. Remember Hadlee was world record holderfor test wickets during the mid eighties.. competing against the great West Indies, Kapil Dev, Imram Kahn, Ian Botham and so on. NZ was also near(ish) top of the table in tests beating Aussie at home. The difference was Hadlee won tests for NZ, reguarly. Just like Shane Bond when he plays. When Hadlee played NZ often won test matches.

Vettori is an amazing cricketer, but the simple fact of the matter he can't take tests wickets when his team needs it. lets compare Vettori to Warne or to Murali, or to Kumble, Habhajan.. theres no comparison and although the other guys cant bat like Vettori, Vettori is in the squad as New Zealands PRIMARY SPIN BOWLER.

With Hadlee, NZ did not need to make massive totals to win, but he forced wins regardless. NZ simply cant compete today like we could during Hadlees days, thats the difference.

Posted by HLANGL on (March 26, 2010, 7:45 GMT)

Vettori may not be in par with Martin Crowe or Sir Richard Hadlee when it comes to the pure skill, I mean the inborn tallent one has in his trade. Even Glen Turner & Andrew Jones would have been a class or two above. Having said that, Vettori may have been the most thriving cricketer produced by NZ. He started his game as a very later order bat, usually at no.8-9-10, capable of occupying the crease. But today he has developed into one of their most dependable players, may not be in par with brilliant Martin Crowe, but yet a very acceptable performer with the bat. As a spinner, he may not have any match in the history of NZ cricket. If one takes the point of making most of one's tallent, Vettori may have been the finest example to be taken from NZ. So if you consider the alround contribution, including all the aspects like the skill, the stamina to succeed & the endurance, Vettori may be right up there at the top in NZ history.

Posted by delta20 on (March 26, 2010, 6:16 GMT)

New zealand team is an unlucky one because they had one world class pace bowler but he got retired recently. Tim Southee is showing some signs that he would get far provided he will learn the tricks of the trade quickly and the presence of Shane bond in the test team would have provided him the best opportunity. That would have made their pace attack good, if not one of the best, with Shane bond, Tim southee and Daryll tuffy. The absence of Jesse ryder and Daniel flynn is also a setback. Just look at Vettori's bowling performances once Jesse ryder and Daniel flynn makes their way back to the test team and Martin guptill starts contributing handsomely which is not very far. What I can write is that once the first choice NZ team can play together for even a year, they will not only give the world's better teams a run for their money but they will produce extraordinary results.

Posted by delta20 on (March 26, 2010, 6:15 GMT)

New zealand team is an unlucky one because they had one world class pace bowler but he got retired recently. Tim Southee is showing some signs that he would get far provided he will learn the tricks of the trade quickly and the presence of Shane bond in the test team would have provided him the best opportunity. That would have made their pace attack good, if not one of the best, with Shane bond, Tim southee and Daryll tuffy. The absence of Jesse ryder and Daniel flynn is also a setback. Just look at Vettori's bowling performances once Jesse ryder and Daniel flynn makes their way back to the test team and Martin guptill starts contributing handsomely which is not very far. What I can write is that once the first choice NZ team can play together for even a year, they will not only give the world's better teams a run for their money but they will produce extraordinary results.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (March 26, 2010, 4:35 GMT)

Well when you have the kind of talent that NZ has had for many years......Vettori will certainly be there in top 2.

NZ has the poorest talent pool for last 30 years and doesn't seem it will improve....

On other hand their cricket board's policy of not touring any country except Australia has caused their country's down-fall .As NZ are tactically il-literate and don't have the stomach for a fight in foreign conditions....

Posted by   on (March 26, 2010, 3:59 GMT)

HADLEE HANDS DOWN ! I also think that any team he played in was not that much stronger than any team today ! Just more constant ! Daniel is certainly number two if Bond had played 40 more tests he would probably even beat Sir Richard isnt that such a shame ! Gerrystakle your comment is the winner in my book !

Posted by rhubarbmuncher on (March 26, 2010, 3:50 GMT)

John Clapp states: "Hadlee was & Vettori is the star performer in an under-performing team, if either had decent backup they would be standout performers in the mould of Sir Garfield Sobers, Keith Miller & Ian Botham." This argument that gets repeated so often lacks logic. One could more reasonably argue that in any of the teams that Garfield Sobers or Keith Miller were in he would not even get a game.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2010, 3:50 GMT)

I think rite now he's the only player NZ can relay on and he's their ACE no no doubt

Posted by gzawilliam on (March 26, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

I don't think there is any standoutfor NZ's greatest. Hadlee maybe the better player as he had that excellence with the ball only a handful of people have had in the game.

But don't forget Vettori is always up against top teams with no much support. He is also aguably the best 20/20 bowler in the world so far. He is also someone who every single playing nation respects and regards as world class.

I must agree with Phil_Kirby. If he had the same calibre of players beside him as australia has had for so long he would have much better stats.

But stats don't always tell the story. Andrew Flintoff had very modest stats in all forms. But was he one of the top players in our generation. I think so.

Posted by robotiger on (March 26, 2010, 2:33 GMT)

The only problem with comparing averting disasters to winning outright is that winning is just a better version of a disaster being averted (If that makes any sense!). The top players are those who avert disaster and then put their team in a commanding/match winning position. How many times have we seen Australia, even at the hands of NZ, be 100/5, but then go on to post 400+ and then bowl supremely in reply. It is too weak to acknowledge the averting of a disaster with a win. Sure NZ and Vettori fought back well in the last game (to avert disaster) but then in the final innings limply surrendered to the Aussie openers. Hadlee won the most games for NZ and is therefore the greatest player.

Posted by   on (March 26, 2010, 2:23 GMT)

He is def. the best allrounder around in world cricket....

Posted by mattkel on (March 26, 2010, 1:47 GMT)

Umm, you think Vettori wouldn't walk straight into the Australian side aglubb002. That is mental. If you think Haurtiz would keep Vettori out you're crazy. If you look at Vettori's record you have to remember that he is playing at least 1/2 of his cricket on seamer friendly pitches. If he was an Australia not only would he walk straight into the team, he also would have taken a lot more wickets and probably scored a lot more runs without all the pressure. Dan has to be in the top 2 or 3 for New Zealand, you can't tell everything just by looking at the numbers.

Posted by harryspooner on (March 26, 2010, 0:30 GMT)

Agglub i reckon you're australian. I quite liked the "unlik" ponting bit. NZ is perhaps the poorest test team in terms of overall talent , but Dan the man always seems to get em out of trouble, i would love to have the imagination to see what the punter would have done in kiwiland, may be he would have fled across the tasman to australia. Don't tell me that australia would have "Who-s-he" Hauritz than Vettori. Vettori is a far better spinner than hauritz. Vettori is not overrated. Good article

Posted by East_West on (March 26, 2010, 0:16 GMT)

short or long answer - Yes he is and he will be!! Simple as that! He is the best who bowls and bats with equal vigor + he is the captain! you can't ask better than that! you can't give a human more responsibilities than that!! As much as I respect Sir Hadlee, Vettori is even better than him and guess what he is of Italian descent so that makes him an even greater "Cricket" player!! so whoever is saying chris cairns [he has some other NZ players in his team to take care of the load] or martin crowe [he has some others during his time] or Sir Hadlee[he has some others during his time as well] is the greatest yes, you are partly right but Daniel Vettori as the bowler, batsman and more importantly as the CAPTAIN!! he is the best NZ has produced and will be for a long time!! Kudos to you Sir Mr Vettori! Btw..I am an Indian! but loves to see Daniel Vettori, the best captain of any PRESENT cricket team in the world play with good clean cricket!! Hats off Mr Vettori Sir!!

Posted by SettingSun on (March 25, 2010, 23:46 GMT)

I remember watching Vettori's test debut live - can't believe it was so long ago and that he's not that far into his thirties now. I think Vettori's improvement as a cricketer has been remarkable. He's turned himself from a tail-end dasher who might get the occasional 50 into a genuinely threatening lower-middle order batsman in all forms of the game. He's also developed from a tidy spinner who gives away nothing into limited overs cricket's best spin bowler, bar none, and a consistently threatening test match bowler even on unhelpful surfaces. Is he NZ's greatest? He probably still has 5 or 6 years left in him to prove that he might be.

Posted by sachin1bradman2 on (March 25, 2010, 23:36 GMT)

Vettori is definitely up there with Hadlee and the others in my opinion. He has performed the rescue act for the Kiwis on innumerable occasions, and is so very inspirational. Talk about leadership by example. I am an English lady, who supports NZ and India at the cricket (except when they are playing us, of course!) Vettori's on field demeanour, his consistency and versatility as a cricketer, and general likeability make him one of the greatest players of this era. Hadlee was sometimes accused of being aloof, robotlike, selfish etc, no one would ever dare say that about Daniel Vettori. He gives it his all, every single time.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 23:33 GMT)

most of these are pathetic responses. I dont think anyone realises how good this man is. to play your 10th test at 31 is a remarkable achievement. With the team around him during his time, vettori has not had much to work with. He has forever bemused the australians with his variations, which is no easy task. He has defended small ODI totals almost alone, quite often keeping his 10 overs to below 30. He has teams quite worried about his bowling, australia included, ricky ponting often tell his players to give vettori nothing, regardless of how little runs he concedes. Throw his grit and determination with the bat and his uncanny ability to score runs and you have quite a decent cricketer and captain. He has more will to win than the likes of cairns, who really only stepped it up against australia, and had alot more bettr players around him. Vettori is well and truly up there on the list of New Zealands greatest, and all this comes from an aussie

Posted by smudgeon on (March 25, 2010, 23:19 GMT)

As many have said, Daniel Vettori is probably the most important cricketer in NZ for the past decade, and even more so in the past few years. He carries a huge load, and while his stats alone might not be flash, we all know stats are only part of a bigger picture. His credentials as a scrapper are hard to quantify with stats, but are easy to appreciate from watching him play when NZ are in a tight spot. The man's cricketing talent might not be up there with his contemporaries in world cricket, but there really is more to the game than coming in at 1/200 and scoring a free-flowing century, or picking up 3 or 4 tail enders on day 5.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 22:55 GMT)

Vettori is the ultimate number 8. His batting average gives the batting line-up extra depth and the lower order a bit of strength. He is also the best spinner the country has had. If you were to pick and all-time XI, you could never go past:

Glenn Turner - best opening batsman Martin Crowe - best middle order batsman Stephen Fleming - best captain Chris Cairns - best allrounder Daniel Vettori - best spin bowler Richard Hadlee - best pace bowler

All the other positions are contentious IMO, but these ones cannot be looked over.

Posted by demon_bowler on (March 25, 2010, 22:27 GMT)

I watched his first test as an England supporter and I am looking forward to watching his 100th as a great admirer of the man. First, second, third, or fourth, what does it matter -- he is a multi-talented, wholehearted cricketer, fine captain, and great ambassador for the game. Good on you, Dan, long may you run.

Posted by aglubb002 on (March 25, 2010, 22:05 GMT)

Please tell me how Vettori who only averages low 30's with the bat and mid 30's with the ball (mediocre for a bowler) can be even considered NZ's best cricketer. What a disgrace from the Yes men who post that he is while forgetting the exploits of Hadlee, Crowe, Cairns, Turner, Sutcliffe and perhaps even Donnelly, Dempster & Cowie (reportedly) who are truly of another class. The other thing is its much easier to achieve better stats these days (batting wise) with the pitches and much easier to play a high percentage of games against poorer teams. NZ now plays about 3/10's of its games against WI, Bangers and Zimb.

Posted by aglubb002 on (March 25, 2010, 21:55 GMT)

Short answer No. Powerful and Longevity: Yes. Best in generation? No way! Chris Cairns was a far better test player both as batsmen and bowler. Also the better ODI batsmen and the matchwinner. Other players likle Fleming, Bond, McCullum and Taylor can claim to be close to Vettori in terms of value to the side. Vettori may help minimise NZ's defeats and even save games, but on the whole he is hardly a matchwinner, whereas Cairns is. Even Hauritz and Al-Hasan do as well if not better in taking wickets and Swann well ahead. Sure Vettori does a brilliant job as a test batsmen, but his bowling leaves a lot to be desired. He is also a weak team bully. Cairns was NZ's only player in the last decade who would have walked into the Australian side. where is the credit to this true champion? Overall, poor and defensive captain both tactics and results show this, not a good motivator (unlike Ponting) and in my view probably one of the world's most overrated cricketers.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 20:07 GMT)

Had Vettori played for India, with the support of strong batting and spinner friendly conditions he would have added another 150 wickets to his tally.

Posted by __PK on (March 25, 2010, 19:42 GMT)

Actually, I'd say 'yes'. As a bowler, he's well shy of R Hadlee - he's really not a great bowler, from a historical perspective. As a batsman, better than Hadlee, but a long way shy of Crowe, obviously. Based on these two disciplines, he's a contender for No 3, in my opinion (although Chris Cairns must rate somewhere as an allrounder). But none of these other fine players brought anything like Vettori's leadership to the team. And then what tips the scales in his favour, IMHO, is the recent tour where McCullum was relieved of the vice-captaincy and Vettori was Captain, Vice-captain, Coach, Selector, as well as leading wicket-taker, bowling work-horse and most consistent batsmen.

Posted by kre8ive on (March 25, 2010, 19:29 GMT)

I absolutely agree with Srinivasan Narayanan on " The value of Vettori is not so much in how many wins he had steered the Kiwis to but how many disasters he had prevented"

He has also shown to the world that he is a life long learner of the game with passion and patriotism. He has remarkable record to prove his works and great part about it is that he is not done yet. He is a fighter, true sportsman and great ambassador of the game.

Posted by D.V.C. on (March 25, 2010, 17:45 GMT)

@John Clapp: How can you leave off Oldfield!?

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 16:13 GMT)

What this article does is rely on comparative stats to make a call. The value of Vettori is not so much in how many wins he had steered the Kiwis to but how many disasters he had prevented. Being a spinner and a late order batsman he comes into play after some damage had been done. Imagine Vettori bowling alongside Richard Hadlee. It wd be the equivalent of a McGrath-Warne combination with nearly equivalent results.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 15:24 GMT)

I would rate Daniel Vettori as ONE of the best cricketers NZ has ever produced [certainly the best of this generation] but it is extremely difficult to compare different generations of cricketers. Was Sir Richard Hadlee better? You might as well ask who was the better Australian wicketkeeper: Don Tallon, Rod Marsh, Ian Healy or Adam Gilchrist? [each was good but...] Hadlee was & Vettori is the star performer in an under-performing team, if either had decent backup they would be standout performers in the mould of Sir Garfield Sobers, Keith Miller & Ian Botham.

Posted by coeurlion on (March 25, 2010, 15:03 GMT)

I'm with krsriram here. Dan Vettori and Sir Richard Hadlee are/been the two best servants NZ cricket ever had, and must be mentioned in the same sentence. Dan the man just needs support. It's almost monotonous... 'Oh shoot, we're stuff all for four, or they've got a 150+ partnership' and 'Sir' Daniel sighs, dons his shining armour yet again to save NZ cricket as we know it, with bat or ball. The ad you mentioned David in your article is all too true. He's not the most talented cricketer NZ ever had... but he'll fight with what he's got to the end... and that makes him a great cricketer. From across the Tasman, I salute you Dan.

Posted by Phil_Kirby on (March 25, 2010, 14:56 GMT)

"Rarely has he marked out his run with 450 or more runs to work with"

And therein lies the rub : imagine he had somebody like Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag or Ponting, Hayden or Hussey in the team. Just one batsman who could lay the foundation for a 650 run innings - I am guessing Vettori would go to town and wipe up the opposition.

Or imagine if he was available to pakistan as a captain with the same authority - he could put that country's cricket back on the world map.

Looking at what he has achieved with the resources he has, Dan Vettori is an asset to the game. I envy that such a small country has such great sportspersons.

Posted by waitara on (March 25, 2010, 14:05 GMT)

I don't think this article does justice to Vettori. His batting average and record (runs, centuries, 50s) is better than most NZ batsmen. That is almost enough for greatness, because for decades we have not been able to find batsmen who can average higher than 25 to low 30s. But, er, he is actually a bowler. And he is second to Hadlee and way ahead of the next in terms of wicket taking. Enough said there also. Hadlee had a similar (but not as good) batting record but was also one of the greatest bowlers (and allrounders) in the history of the game; Turner is simply our best ever batsman (look also at his County records); and Crowe is number two. When you look at Vettori's batting and bowling records, add captaincy, etc, you have to say he is one of our 3 or 4 greatest players - a bit more than "right up there."

Posted by veryeavy on (March 25, 2010, 13:41 GMT)

"Richard Hadlee, who was part of an even weaker bowling attack" - cough cough - our bowling attack now is truly horrendous and I really don't think that any bowling lineups that had Paddles as one of their number could have been worse - certainly with a Chatfield alongside for metronomic steadiness and a Cairns of the Lance flavour bowling his inswingers this made a far better attack than we have now - both in terms of variety but more importantly, penetration.

Posted by Crisp73 on (March 25, 2010, 12:34 GMT)

Vettori started his career as a genuine number 11, and he has through nothing but hard work and intelligence, become a genuine classy batsman - 3 test centuries in the past year. Combine that with his career record as a bowler - again success through intelligence and hard work rather than natural talent - makes him such a cricketing superstar. He certainly isnt the talent of a Crowe or Hadlee, but a players greatness isnt the same as his talent. His relative value to his nation is greater than any other player in World Cricket. I would say the best cricketer is the one who's total contribution is the greatest, and maybe he hasnt surpassed Hadlee, but he's still only 31, and in time theres every chance that he will be.

Posted by cool_mysterious on (March 25, 2010, 12:33 GMT)

I think the author has missed Stephen Fleming...He along with vettori can lay claim to be Newzealand's greatest cricketer. In any ways newzeland was a team devoid of any superstars but they also have been a competetive team though not spectacular.

Posted by putrevus on (March 25, 2010, 12:04 GMT)

Vettori is very overrated bowler who is stopping NZ from winning test matches,they cannot play another spinner because he is supposed to be the wicket taker but he never takes any wickets in tests any more.

in Test matches taking wickets is all that matters and Vettori has failed NZ big time.Author talks about his improved batting since he has taken over the captaincy role but fails to mention his diminished skills as a bowler.

since he is the team as batsman then he should let another spinner who can take wickets in team and be a stock bowler who can hold one end up.

Posted by BlorScouser on (March 25, 2010, 11:20 GMT)

This article is aptly named, as Super Dan is indeed the Atlas of his team, holding them up on his shoulders. He may not be his country's finest ever cricketer, but must rank as one of toughest fighters the game has ever seen. Kudos to Vettori on reaching the 100 test landmark and may he lead his underdog team to greater triumphs.

Posted by fanofnz on (March 25, 2010, 10:54 GMT)

I have been following NZ cricket since 1975. In that time we have had one truly great player: Richard Hadlee. Martin Crowe could have got there with better knees and Daniel Vettori is the next best.

As for who carried the team more there is no competition. Again it was Hadlee. Over his career he took over 35% of the wickets in the tests he played in. Vettori is around 22%. Both scored c. 10% of their teams' runs.

Whenever Hadlee was out of the team the cricketing public in NZ would be in absolute despair. Vettori is important but never to the same extent.

Nicer guy: Vettori Better Cricketer: Hadlee

Posted by L0rd_Aryan on (March 25, 2010, 10:15 GMT)

are we forgetting chris cairns/Martin Crowe/hadlee ????

Posted by rhubarbmuncher on (March 25, 2010, 10:07 GMT)

"Vettori is far and away the best spinner New Zealand have produced" ? Clearly not. That was Clarrie Grimmett

Posted by Alexk400 on (March 25, 2010, 10:03 GMT)

Vettori is smartest cricketer ever!. He just lacks support in bowling and batting or he could have won more games easily.

Vettori do not have sachin,dravid or sehwag in his team like dhoni getting help in winning games.

For me he is greatest newzland cricketer ever. Best bowler was richard hadlee , best batsman was martin crowe.

I know some wants to rate richard hadlee as best NZ cricketer but overall Vettori bring more to table.

Posted by rhubarbmuncher on (March 25, 2010, 9:53 GMT)

"Vettori is far and away the best spinner New Zealand have produced" ? Clearly not. That was Clarrie Grimmett

Posted by krsriram on (March 25, 2010, 8:50 GMT)

One of the great tragedies of Vettori's performance is the tragic state of the rest of New Zealand cricket. Had he had the kind of supporting cast that Richard Hadlee (good honest cricketers of the Jeremy Coney type), Vettori might well have been termed as a match winner in the Hadlee class (if not better than, or as good as Hadlee)

Posted by BondShaneBond on (March 25, 2010, 8:47 GMT)

Not only the best in NZ but in whole cricketing world, a Leader of men, a Team man, man to rescue out from hopeless situations, man for all seasons, man to look forward to, man to lead... He personifies a new era of NZ cricket though there is still a long way to go, I wish you Dan all the very best...

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 8:38 GMT)

I would vote for him as the greatest cricketer for NZ....simply because he always perform beyond his skills. NZ has produced some wonderful cricketers like Martin Crowe, Sir Richard Hadlee...but these players have skill and talent. I am not saying that Vettori is not talented...but he always performed way above his talent, as a bowler, as a batsman and as a captain too. And, with the likes of Taylor, Mccullum and Guptill in side, still the team relies on Vettori for making runs is one of the best examples to illustrate why i consider him the greatest for NZ.

Posted by ian_ghose on (March 25, 2010, 8:26 GMT)

He should run for the the post of New Zealand's Prime Minister..or better, the post of 'ICC Chief' :-)

Totally unrelated, yet a personal observation - another test player from another country who seems to bear a remarkable similarity to Dan Vettori, both in terms of the skills he plies, and the responsibilities he holds is Bangladesh's Captain Shakib al Hasan.

Posted by vinayp on (March 25, 2010, 7:46 GMT)

I definitely think he is one of the greatest player of newzealand. And looking at the time he played the newzealand team was not that good at that time,so his efforts and his game is one of the best. I respect him for all his roles he plays and the spirit with which he plays the game. I also think that he doesnt get the recognition he deserves... Go on vett.... :)

Posted by Chiller38 on (March 25, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

As an Aussie who has seen him bowl against our batsmen and play over in England on TV, he is an absolute legend. He 100% carries New Zealand cricket and over and above his outstanding cricket ability, he is a great leader and an outstanding diplomat.

I hope that when he retires he remains involved with cricket at an Administrative level or maybe even umpiring.

In the last 10 years , there is no doubt Vettori sits in the top 5 cricketers world wide. Ask his peers, they will say exectly the same thing.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 7:12 GMT)

To me, Vettori is far and away the best cricketing export from the Kiwis. I have read about the other legends from Kiwi land, I have watched Hadlee bowl. No disrespect to any of them. Vettori brings a lot more the table, wears too many hats at the same time, and it brings the best out for him.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 7:01 GMT)

Vettori is up there, but Sir Richard won test matches for New Zealand with his bowling regularly. It is hard to recall Vettori doing that. So, influential, yes, best ever? Afraid Not.

Posted by BillyCC on (March 25, 2010, 5:31 GMT)

Vettori ranks highly in the New Zealand Test cricket pantheon, but Richard Hadlee stands alone at the top. I am a big Vettori fan in the way he plays cricket. He is not the best bowler, nor the best batsman, but he's a good player to have in the side, and an annoyance to the opposition. Graeme Swann is getting a lot of plaudits at the moment, but Vettori also deserves a lot of attention, not least of all for reaching the 100 Test milestone.

Posted by Lakpj on (March 25, 2010, 5:15 GMT)

I dont think he can surpass sir Hadlee and become the best ever. but he must be the next best. he is the most inspirational cricketer though, in a side that is somewhat struggling in test cricket.

Posted by sagar286 on (March 25, 2010, 5:10 GMT)

DAN is the MAN...!! He's just superb, and he surely is the best!

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 4:57 GMT)

I'd say that he's one of our three great all-rounders, along with Reid and Hadlee. He is a better bowler than Ried was, and a better batsman than Hadlee, but he probably hasn't won us enough matches, and so has to fall behind Hadlee, who was a genuine match-winner.

Posted by manasvi_lingam on (March 25, 2010, 4:53 GMT)

One of the most influential players of NZ: Yes, definitely The best: Perhaps not Vettori for most of his career was a bowler and now he is a bowling all rounder, and his record as a bowler, especially when the weaker teams are removed, is quite moderate. Richard Hadlee, who was part of an even weaker bowling attack, won many a match on his own with his stupendous bowling. Bowlers win matches in Test cricket. And there are few greater bowlers in the history of the game than Sir Richard Hadlee. And he was a useful batsman certainly not as good as Vettori but a good one nonetheless. My vote for Sir Richard.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (March 25, 2010, 4:37 GMT)

He is the best cricketer that I have seen in my life time from NZ, and he is the most influential person for any cricketer in the world. The most humble captain, and person. One of the greatest Icon and Ambassador for Cricket. We all know Magic is fake, it is just trick of hand, well I think he is one of the founder of the Magic. I think he carries more than one heart and more than two lobed brain. hahaha Genius. P.S. sometimes I wonder how can you have face like a innocent nerd who can be that dangerous bowler or batsman who can snatch a game from you in seconds !!

Posted by Gerrystackle on (March 25, 2010, 3:55 GMT)

He certainly is a great cricketer...but above all else he's a decent bloke.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 25, 2010, 3:46 GMT)

I wouldn't say he's their greatest but he is in the conversation. A really incredible and dedicated player even though not the most naturally gifted. I'll leave it at that for now.

Posted by srogers on (March 25, 2010, 3:46 GMT)

A team full of Vettoris wouldn't lose many games either.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2010, 3:43 GMT)

Definitely...Vettori s d NZ's Finest Cricketer!!!!!!!

Posted by long_handle9 on (March 25, 2010, 3:23 GMT)

I definitely think it's a close contention between him and Hadlee. People talk about Hadlee being a one-man team--well that 80's side was definitely a better unit than today's, which is basically Vettori, McCullum, & Taylor (though Guptill in one-days has done well)

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