Daniel Vettori: 100 Tests March 26, 2010

'I had two cups of tea in my hands and they were shaking'

Daniel Vettori's parents remember his Test debut and the days before it
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Robyn Vettori still remembers the day her son, just turned 18, stepped out onto the Basin Reserve for his Test debut. She was nervous; Daniel wasn't. Or at least, it didn't show. He'd become an adult 10 days earlier, had just enrolled in a health sciences course at university with the hope of becoming a pharmacist, and all of a sudden was playing cricket for his country.

Thirteen years later, Robyn and Renzo Vettori will be there once again to watch their boy become only the second New Zealander to play 100 Tests. Except that he's not a boy any more. He's the captain of his country, a loving husband and father to one-year-old James. He's also one of the most accomplished players in the world.

"I can still remember him walking out for his first Test and I had two cups of tea in my hands and they were shaking as he walked across the ground," Robyn says. "And I can remember thinking, 'He always looks so relaxed when he walks out there.' He'll probably be the same again.

"For him, inside it will feel like a great achievement but he always keeps it pretty close to his chest. We'll reminisce a bit that, goodness me, he walked out there as an 18-year-old and now he's a man, he's a father. But he'll come home and James will be running around and it will all just be normal."

It will help that the milestone is arriving in Hamilton. Robyn, a nurse, and Renzo, who works for a dairy company, live only a ten-minute drive from Seddon Park, the venue of Daniel's debut for Northern Districts when he was 17. Hamilton is a small city and they will both be there, along with other family and friends, for the big day on Saturday.

The fame, money and travel involved in elite cricket these days makes it easy to forget that international players are just normal people, from normal families. Parents are always proud of their offspring and the Vettoris are no different; their walls bear photos of weddings and grandchildren, and Renzo has kept scrapbooks of his son's sporting journey.

There are 10 books, with photographs and articles dating back to the time when a 15-year-old Daniel, who was also a talented soccer player, fractured his vertebrae when the bus carrying his football team crashed. Then there's the back page that screams "But he's only 18!" when he was first named in the New Zealand team.

Renzo nearly ran off the road when he picked up his car-phone back in 1997 and was told to pack for Wellington to watch his son in the Test team. It was a remarkable achievement, especially given that it was only three years earlier that Daniel had taken up spin, after toiling as a frustrated medium-pacer in the school team.

But Daniel Vettori had always shown natural sporting ability. It's not really surprising, given that his mother's side of the family boasts rugby league legend Ken Stirling and Olympic swimmer Glenda Stirling, while on Renzo's side Daniel is a cousin of the former All Blacks fly-half David Hill and first-class cricketer Joseph Hill.

Soccer and cricket were the two sports that Daniel starred in as a child - he took up cricket as a seven-year-old when the family lived in Sydney - and his competitive nature was on display from an early age. Robyn remembers the day her 11-year-old son was supposed to head to Auckland to play in an Under-14 representative soccer team, only for the bus driver to forget him.

"He was most distraught and I thought, 'Hmm, this is a bit strange,' but I probably realise now there was this absolute competitiveness there. Contained, but competitive and a quiet confidence in himself."

It was that same nature that drove the young Vettori to head off to play for representative teams during his school holidays most summers, meaning he usually missed the family trips to the beach. Not that he didn't want to be with his parents, brother Nicholas and sister Kimberly; he is a loyal family man.

He was close to his grandparents; Renzo's father was a concrete worker who moved out from the Italian village of Roncone in the Dolomites when Renzo was six. When Daniel hit the big time, his grandparents loved it. "It was nuts. They suddenly became cricket experts," Renzo says. "It was the last thing they knew, or thought they knew."

Watching their son play is still a nerve-wracking experience for Renzo and Robyn, especially since he has become captain. But when he comes home to visit - Daniel now lives in Auckland with wife Mary and baby James - the conversation usually veers away from the game.

"There's not much cricket talk when he comes home. It's anything but, really," Renzo says. "You might ask him a few questions about this or that but it's not an interrogation, it's just anything else but cricket."

"I think he needs that," Robyn says of Daniel's escape from cricket when he's around his family. "He's not exactly captaining a winning team all the time so he needs that getaway from it, to become a dad and husband."

Come Saturday, he'll still be dad, husband, son, brother. He'll also be the second New Zealander to reach 100 Tests, and no doubt his parents will be more nervous than he is.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harish8207 on March 28, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    One of the gentlemen of Cricket...

  • Go_F.Alonso on March 27, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    Congratulations Dan. You are one of not just NZ's but world's best all-rounder. I always have hope when you are batting & am relaxed when you are bowling.

    I think your response to the Broom-bowled Haddin incident salutes your gentlemanly conduct. Nothing personal, purely professional & absolute fair play.

    If only Baz, Rossco & a bowler maybe Southee became consistent, NZ would end up winning more often.

  • NikhilPapad3 on March 27, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Where would new zealand cricket be without Daniek Vettori? The best spinner the country has ever seen and one of the best left arm orthodoz spinners the world has ever seen. I hope he reaches the land mark of 400test wickets and 4000test runs, would be so swesome. Mr.dependable, thank you god for belssing us with a genius!

  • santhoshkudva on March 27, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    playing a hundred tests is a big thing and it means that you have played the best, staved off injury scares, and have maintained good form. daniel vettori would have walked into any test team today. without him, newzealand would be playing only at 20% their strength.

  • ramgoat on March 27, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Who knows cricket would tell you that Danny Vettori is a super cricketer . The coolest guy you could ever find on a cricket field ,congratulations on your 100 test match Danny, make a hundred and win the test match.

  • Raj_au on March 27, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    Easily one of my favorite cricketers and one of the best all rounders in world cricket... Its a treat to watch him bowl and leading his team from front... Gr8 tactician, a true gentleman and a gr8 student of the game . He is and will be a gr8 inspiration for youngsters for years to come ... Keep up the good work Dan and wish u all the best...

  • jamrith on March 27, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    Daniel Luca Vettori is to New Zealand what Sachin is to India, a boy wonder who has gone from strength to strength, carries a hugely disproportionate share of the team's performance burden on his back and yet remains a role model and thoroughly nice human being. Long may his tribe last.

  • jjoseph4 on March 26, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    what a guy?he is mr.new zealand.

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on March 26, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Face of New Zealand Cricket

  • bonner on March 26, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Congratulations Daniel. You are a great representative of your nation and an asset to world cricket.

  • Harish8207 on March 28, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    One of the gentlemen of Cricket...

  • Go_F.Alonso on March 27, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    Congratulations Dan. You are one of not just NZ's but world's best all-rounder. I always have hope when you are batting & am relaxed when you are bowling.

    I think your response to the Broom-bowled Haddin incident salutes your gentlemanly conduct. Nothing personal, purely professional & absolute fair play.

    If only Baz, Rossco & a bowler maybe Southee became consistent, NZ would end up winning more often.

  • NikhilPapad3 on March 27, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Where would new zealand cricket be without Daniek Vettori? The best spinner the country has ever seen and one of the best left arm orthodoz spinners the world has ever seen. I hope he reaches the land mark of 400test wickets and 4000test runs, would be so swesome. Mr.dependable, thank you god for belssing us with a genius!

  • santhoshkudva on March 27, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    playing a hundred tests is a big thing and it means that you have played the best, staved off injury scares, and have maintained good form. daniel vettori would have walked into any test team today. without him, newzealand would be playing only at 20% their strength.

  • ramgoat on March 27, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Who knows cricket would tell you that Danny Vettori is a super cricketer . The coolest guy you could ever find on a cricket field ,congratulations on your 100 test match Danny, make a hundred and win the test match.

  • Raj_au on March 27, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    Easily one of my favorite cricketers and one of the best all rounders in world cricket... Its a treat to watch him bowl and leading his team from front... Gr8 tactician, a true gentleman and a gr8 student of the game . He is and will be a gr8 inspiration for youngsters for years to come ... Keep up the good work Dan and wish u all the best...

  • jamrith on March 27, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    Daniel Luca Vettori is to New Zealand what Sachin is to India, a boy wonder who has gone from strength to strength, carries a hugely disproportionate share of the team's performance burden on his back and yet remains a role model and thoroughly nice human being. Long may his tribe last.

  • jjoseph4 on March 26, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    what a guy?he is mr.new zealand.

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on March 26, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Face of New Zealand Cricket

  • bonner on March 26, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Congratulations Daniel. You are a great representative of your nation and an asset to world cricket.

  • nauroze123456 on March 26, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    As an Indian i definitely dont have time to watch and other country play because 10 months out of 12 India is playing but i make it a point to watch New Zealand play just because of Vettori. NZ cricket starts and ends with this man !!

  • SpaceRocketMan123 on March 26, 2010, 20:25 GMT

    Sitting number 13 on the Fantasy position with F55. vertori as usual will come through along with hussy and wastson and win me the first fantasy title ever. vettori as trump as usual he is a cool guy and very reliable hopefully he has his best game of his life on his 100th test game. amazing. go F55 and vettori.

  • tjdo on March 26, 2010, 19:27 GMT

    Smashing article, Mum & Dad!! Your son is a true sporting superstar & long may he continue to make his family, friends & supporters all over the world proud. 100 caps is a huge achievement & the tributes are all so well deserved. Here's to the next 100!!

  • bishpera on March 26, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    I am from Sri lanka. My sons 7 & 5 identifies NZ team as DV team. Such is his influence on the game. I dont mind them choosing a real gentlemen cricketer as a role model in a day and some players think they are larger than the game.

  • Leoline on March 26, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    Vettori is easily the Hadlee of this generation. Hope the kids in NZ look upto him not only for his cricketing abilities but for his conduct, attitude, & sportsmanship. Dan seems like a humble guy despite the influence he yields in NZ cricket and his individual achievements. Hope he goes on to achieve greater heights and does his family and country proud-er. Good luck with everything Dan!

  • Venkat.Chak on March 26, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    Dan's performance goes up by a notch if de opposition happens to be aussies, tats de hallmark of great players...as "Browndog1968" says, Dan is one of de true gentlemen of de game but i wonder if Clarke is there yet. Great job Dan!!

  • Jarr30 on March 26, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Danny is a true GENTLEMAN and has the best sportsman sprit that a captain of a side should posses. Maybe Ricky Pointing can learn something from him and pass it his team. Go Danny...U ROCK!!

  • on March 26, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    am Pakistani and like Mohammad armughan i admire this guy, only wish pakistan can have a captain and leader like him!!!since pak teams tour of new zealand i have started supporting new zealand as my second team..best captain in the cricket today!

  • hashir86 on March 26, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    he is a true genius..a player, a captain, a selector, a fighter, an obedient son, a great husband, and many more to count he is really a class apart from others

  • Divinetouch on March 26, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Congrats Dan Vetorri. You are a true ambassador of the game. Continue to make your family and country proud.

  • nagiamar on March 26, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    Best cricketer ever produced from Zealand. He is the current finest spinner in the cricketing world.

  • LukeTheDuke on March 26, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    He is such a nice fellow that you can not hate him. I have been following cricket for a long long time and really gald to see Dab reaching the heights for greatness for his country. I am sure his parents are really proud of him. Congratualtion and all the very best mate!!

  • Z.Saleem on March 26, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    Vettori is one the legend players that New Zealand has produced, and his name will shine forever in Cricket history. A true gentleman, and a great players, his stats speaks for him.......Very genuine and likeable person :-)

  • ajee on March 26, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    One of the best allrounders around in modern cricket, good going Vettori. He does look a lot young to me, a true dude, giving 1000% committement, let it be bowling / batting.. NZ wont lose until Vettori is bak in pavillion..

    All the very best for the game NZ.. I wud say probably hes among those who was/will never be dragged into any controversies... good going Dan... All the best..

  • Scube on March 26, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Without doubt, the most valuable cricketer going around considering his consistent all round contibution & leadership to the NZ team! May God bless him with success in his 100th test that he can cherish forever! But for that, he should be bold enough to debut Kane as he himself was only 18 during his debut! Haven't seen Kane play, but going by what is being reported about him as the best teenage batsman from NZ since Martin Crowe, he can't be too bad afterall! Even if he has to fail, it would not make much of a difference going by what you've seen of Ingram and the record of Sinclair against Aussies! What's more, he is an offspinner too! If he chooses to bowl with a turban, he'll have a wicket in each innings for the taking! ;-) Anyway, back to the main topic! May Vettori play long enough and break as many NZ cricketing records as possible! Noone deserves it more than Dan The Man: One of my all time favourites!

  • Praful1406 on March 26, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    He is really a legend for NZ. Performing all sort of rolls for his team as bowler,batsman,captain,coach,selector...taking all these burdens and playing International cricket for almost 13 yrs is gr8 achievement. And his character on n off the field displays his sincerity towards d game. Gud on Danny ........GO ON U r one my fav cricketer.

  • SilverDarkHorse on March 26, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Vettori is a great player and a real gentleman, it's people like him who make cricket a sport worth watching.

  • on March 26, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    For me he gave meaning to this phrase "commeth the hour commet the man". In somewhat listless NZ side he's one person who always shines irrespective of opponent and place. I adore NZ side after the Indian side and he along with Shane Bond are my favourites and to me Dan is simply a legend of the game. Hope he plays more and more test matches takes more and more wickets and scores big big hundreds....

  • janoodot on March 26, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    He almost looked like Harry Potter in that teenage pic

  • Sumeet.Gupta on March 26, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    This guy's a gentleman, a rarety in cricket. I dont think he has ever been involved in any kind of controversy, both on and off the field. He's just into his 30s, but looks like he's been around forever!!

  • pinchitter on March 26, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    He is one of the best all rounder in International cricket Today. He has performed well in all form of the game.

  • on March 26, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    I am a big fan of daniel and new zealand. H is a true cricketer and a perfect gentleman.I's amazing how a country which is so close to a arrogant one can be so cool and nice . Good luck !

  • on March 26, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    I am Pakistani but I really admire Vittori. I always wanted him to perform well and his team wins.even if they play with pakistan and pakistan lost. It doesnt hurt coz its vittori's team.............:) He is an inspiration for me coz he wears spectacles. I always thought If he can play with spectacles then why not me....:)

  • on March 26, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    One of the few Amassador of Cricket. True Gentleman and a Great Player. Graet article from a mother.

  • on March 26, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    Great Daniel....Keep it up...nice and touching article Brydon.

  • on March 26, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Nice article about the Man from New Zealand...Daniel Vettori is a bigger name than it's been discussed about...Genuine Cricketer!! All the best for his 100th test match!!

  • Browndog1968 on March 26, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    I would put this guy in the same mould as Clarke, Sachin, Lara, Flintoff, Nitini & Hussey as true gentlemen of the game. Even as an Aussie I have enjoyed his skill and bearing whenever he takes the field. All the best Danny, you have done cricket, your parents and country proud.

  • CLR_James on March 26, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Daniel Vettori is one of the game's true greats of the modern era and his legend will continue to grow. New Zealand cricket needs him desperately at this time when there team is in a rebuilding phase. Although when you think about it, the NZ team has always been this way - there but not there yet. He would have had more than 450-500 wickets by now had he been given enough runs to bowl with. NZ miss Martin Crowe's successor in the team.

  • on March 26, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Vettori for so many years now has single handedly carried the tag of New Zeland's prime bowler...... Had it not been for him, the Kiwis win ratio in test and one day cricket would have drastically shrunk......

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 26, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    Well good on vettori..........Vettori the best cricketer NZ has produced for as long as he has played actually.........

    But it think on this momentous occasion Vettori must seek more future tours against top sides so that his side gets more battle -worthy....

  • on March 26, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    great achivement DAN i want u to emerge victorus at seddon park go....KIWIS................U JUST .CRUSH ....AUSSIES

  • on March 26, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    I always liked this dude, comes across as a nice chap but boy isn't he a wholesome cricketer. Ask even an average cricket follower anywhere in the world to name a cricketer from New Zealand, you have to be shocked not to hear Vettori. Well done.

  • the_blue_android on March 26, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Awesome cricketer, and more importantly an awesome human being.

  • knowledge_eater on March 25, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    Thank You Mr. Coverdale ... I call this week as Vettori Week, he is the real Potter, the one in england is fake one hahaha jokes

  • KeenObserWhere on March 25, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    Bravo Vettori!! Good job and keep it going. If there is to be one MVP in world cricket, that would be YOU. No team relies on a single player than NZ relies on you.

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  • KeenObserWhere on March 25, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    Bravo Vettori!! Good job and keep it going. If there is to be one MVP in world cricket, that would be YOU. No team relies on a single player than NZ relies on you.

  • knowledge_eater on March 25, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    Thank You Mr. Coverdale ... I call this week as Vettori Week, he is the real Potter, the one in england is fake one hahaha jokes

  • the_blue_android on March 26, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Awesome cricketer, and more importantly an awesome human being.

  • on March 26, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    I always liked this dude, comes across as a nice chap but boy isn't he a wholesome cricketer. Ask even an average cricket follower anywhere in the world to name a cricketer from New Zealand, you have to be shocked not to hear Vettori. Well done.

  • on March 26, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    great achivement DAN i want u to emerge victorus at seddon park go....KIWIS................U JUST .CRUSH ....AUSSIES

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 26, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    Well good on vettori..........Vettori the best cricketer NZ has produced for as long as he has played actually.........

    But it think on this momentous occasion Vettori must seek more future tours against top sides so that his side gets more battle -worthy....

  • on March 26, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Vettori for so many years now has single handedly carried the tag of New Zeland's prime bowler...... Had it not been for him, the Kiwis win ratio in test and one day cricket would have drastically shrunk......

  • CLR_James on March 26, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Daniel Vettori is one of the game's true greats of the modern era and his legend will continue to grow. New Zealand cricket needs him desperately at this time when there team is in a rebuilding phase. Although when you think about it, the NZ team has always been this way - there but not there yet. He would have had more than 450-500 wickets by now had he been given enough runs to bowl with. NZ miss Martin Crowe's successor in the team.

  • Browndog1968 on March 26, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    I would put this guy in the same mould as Clarke, Sachin, Lara, Flintoff, Nitini & Hussey as true gentlemen of the game. Even as an Aussie I have enjoyed his skill and bearing whenever he takes the field. All the best Danny, you have done cricket, your parents and country proud.

  • on March 26, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Nice article about the Man from New Zealand...Daniel Vettori is a bigger name than it's been discussed about...Genuine Cricketer!! All the best for his 100th test match!!