Talisman Vettori steps down from captaincy
Daniel Vettori confirmed he would be stepping down from the captaincy after the World Cup, making the second Test at the Basin Reserve his last at the helm. Vettori has captained the side in 32 Tests since he took over from Stephen Fleming in 2007, and sits third on the list of most Tests captained for New Zealand, behind Fleming (80) and John Reid (34).
Vettori said that the plan had always been to step down after the World Cup and that nothing had occurred to convince him to extend his tenure as skipper. "I made that decision three and a half years ago," Vettori said. "So that's it. My timing was always to finish after the World Cup and that stays the same."
Vettori's stint has been a disappointing one for New Zealand, as his captaincy coincided with a significant dip in form for the Test team. Under him, New Zealand have won only six Tests in three years, with four of those wins coming against Bangladesh. They have lost eighteen Tests and drawn thirteen, with nine series losses out of thirteen.
Throughout his captaincy, Vettori has been New Zealand's most consistent performer with the ball, taking 116 wickets at an average of 33.38, ahead of Chris Martin's 93 scalps at 35.08. He has also been routinely called upon to provide stability to New Zealand's batting from the lower order. He's hit four centuries and nine fifties as captain and his aggregate since taking over - 1917 runs - stands behind only Ross Taylor's and Brendon McCullum's during the same period. For much of his captaincy, Vettori has been New Zealand's talisman. A tireless workhorse with the ball, and a courageous fighter with bat in hand.
"There are always regrets, you always want to perform better," Vettori said. "But I can walk away from the captaincy thinking that I gave it everything, particularly with my performance."
The captaincy hasn't been entirely joyless though for Vettori as he singled out victories that brought him satisfaction during his tenure as leader. "The Test win against England and the Test win against Pakistan last year were highlights. Just seeing a group of young guys come into the team [has also been a highlight]. It's a vastly different outfit from the one I started captaining and I think there are some really talented players there."
Vettori also sees a bright future ahead as long as New Zealand's young squad can capitalise on their talent, but claims the team lacks genuine strike power. "If we can get the most out of the likes Taylor, Ryder, McCullum, Guptill and Williamson in the years to come, I think there's an exciting team there. We still need to find fast bowlers coming in. You always want to find guys who can penetrate, so if they come along, that would be great."
Despite stepping down from the captaincy, Vettori confirmed he would continue to play Test cricket and has no plans for retirement as yet. "Test cricket is the part of the game I love. I want to play for as long as I can. There are still a lot of things I want to achieve, so there's no way I'm stepping away from Test cricket."
He will captain the side in the upcoming one-day series against Pakistan, before leading the team to the World Cup. "We've got six one-dayers and then the big World Cup, so there's still a lot of captaincy to come. So that last game-hopefully the World Cup final, that's when the weight [of the captaincy] will be lifted."