New Zealand cricket news October 14, 2009

Vettori up for No. 6 spot in Tests

Cricinfo staff

Daniel Vettori has said he is considering a move up the batting order to fill the No. 6 vacancy left by Jacob Oram's retirement from Tests. Vettori has usually batted at No. 8 for New Zealand and despite the extra workload put on him as captain, strike bowler and crucial lower-order batsman, Vettori said he was not averse to slotting in two places higher.

In an injury-ravaged Test career that spanned seven years for just 33 appearances, Oram filled the No. 6 allrounder's spot. Vettori, who averages 29.77 with the bat, is the most viable option for New Zealand to replace Oram. "I think it is something we'll have to have a look at. It's not something I'm averse to," Vettori told Radio Sport.. "I've stepped up in the one-dayers in terms of moving up the order and maybe now is the right time to do that [in Tests] as well.

"We've been talking about the workload on Jacob and I suppose the workload on me will only increase but maybe it's the right thing to do and maybe it's the opportunity for me to step up and actually fulfill that role."

Brendon McCullum has typically been used at No. 7, but New Zealand's relatively inexperienced batting line-up meant he became a more important middle-order man. Vettori has supported McCullum's desire to settle at No. 5 but that has not entirely worked out.

The other players who have an opportunity to fill the allrounder's role are James Franklin and Grant Elliott. Franklin, a left-arm swing bowler who has converted to an allrounder, has replaced Oram recently at home and in South Africa and appears the most likely candidate, but Vettori called for more consistency. "We all understand he [Franklin] has all the talent in the world and we just want him to get back to his best and be able to be a consistent performer for New Zealand because he could become one of our very good players," he said.

New Zealand will host Pakistan at home for a Test series next month. Before that they will play one-dayers and Twenty20 in the UAE, the squads for which will be named on Thursday.

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