I'm a bit more versatile now - Fulton
Peter Fulton has admitted he has "a pretty average" Test record, but hopes a new found versatility will help him grasp his latest opportunity in international cricket. Fulton has not played a Test since December 2009 but, having enjoyed a fine run of form in domestic cricket, finds himself back in the New Zealand Test squad to face England.
Fulton has averaged just 20.93 from his first 10 Tests but, as the second-highest run-scorer in this season's Plunket Shield, has forced his way back into contention. Fulton scored 902 runs in nine Shield matches, with three centuries, seven half-centuries at an average of 56.37. Had the recurrence of a knee injury not forced him home, he would have opened the batting during the series against South Africa.
"Getting selected is great, but now I need to work hard, play well and score runs to keep myself in there," 34-year-old Fulton said. "I've always looked at my international career in two parts. There's the ODI stuff, where I played 49 games and compiled a pretty handy record. Then there's the 10 or so Tests I played. I never really got going and had a pretty average record.
"I do think my game has changed a bit though and I'm a bit more versatile now. I've scored a few runs this season, some quite quickly and some I've really had to grind out."
He is not the only mature face in the New Zealand squad. Bruce Martin was first called into the New Zealand squad as a teenager in 2000 but, 13 years later and aged 32, remains without an international cap. Now, like then, he owes his call-up in part to injury to his fellow left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori but, while he missed out to Darly Tuffey on that occasion, looks certain to play this time.
Martin's Plunket Shied record this season is modest - he averages 40.40 runs per wicket - but, having narrowly missed out to Jeetan Patel for selection in the Tests against South Africa - will play unless New Zealand opt for an all-seam attack.
"I worked hard in South Africa and I was disappointed I didn't get a run there," Martin said. "I knew I was thereabouts and I had to keep working hard. It was still a nice surprise. It's going to be good fun and I can't wait.
"I like to be attacking rather than hold up an end, I'll be looking to take poles and bowl to some pretty attacking fields."