New Zealand news May 31, 2010

'Vettori shouldn't be a selector' - Astle

Cricinfo staff

Former New Zealand batsman Nathan Astle feels captain Daniel Vettori should step down as a national selector because that responsibility could create a sense of insecurity among his team-mates. Astle fears the team spirit may be affected if the captain has a major say in selection, and added that if Vettori gave up that role, it would allow him to focus on his job as the team's leading strike bowler, and captain.

"He's capable but deep down I think it is too much to take on. Being captain means you take on a certain role and while he should definitely have an input, he shouldn't be a selector," Astle told the New Zealand Herald. "You want your team-mates to be able to discuss things. Players won't do that if they think it might hinder their selection."

Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Warren Lees was also concerned that Vettori's role as a spinner may become redundant if he puts the team's concerns before his own. Vettori is currently the second-highest wicket-taker for New Zealand, behind Richard Hadlee, with 325 wickets. "If he's a good captain, there's a risk he won't get the most out of himself as a bowler because he'll spend the whole time thinking of others," Lees said. "He might need to be more selfish."

The former players also discussed another vital member of the New Zealand side, Brendon McCullum, whose dual role as a wicketkeeper-batsman in all forms of the game has been debated of late. McCullum, who gave up the gloves in Twenty20 internationals to focus on batting alone, isn't sure whether he will follow suit in Tests and ODIs. He said he would take a decision in the coming months on the best way to preserve himself for New Zealand.

Astle felt McCullum should give up keeping because New Zealand needed him as a batsman to shore up an inexperienced batting order. "Giving up the keeping should allow him more time to work on his batting. From what I've seen, it's not that he doesn't want to do it but it's more of a physical thing and he's looking for longevity in the game," Astle said. "I think some people have been too quick to judge."

Lees, however, felt New Zealand couldn't afford to lose him as a keeper. "We don't know how bad his back is. I was surprised coach Mark Greatbatch did not originally know about that," he said. "We are a weak team and need Brendon keeping to have the balance to beat the best in world."

Former New Zealand fast bowler, Danny Morrison, now a commentator, spoke out on the team's recent performance. He felt the senior batsmen weren't putting their hands up enough, going by New Zealand's performance in the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean and in Florida, where they were bowled out for 81 in a Twenty20 against Sri Lanka.

"I think more onus needs to go on McCullum, [Ross] Taylor and [Jesse] Ryder as a core group of senior batsmen, who have a responsibility to perform. There was a glaring lack of runs in the Caribbean and it wasn't good enough."

Shane Bond's retirement from all forms has weakened the bowling attack, and Morrison called for the youngsters to fill the breach quickly. "It's time young guys stepped up because big Daryl [Tuffey] and Chris [Martin] haven't got long left at the top. They're still useful, especially in New Zealand conditions with their pace and bounce, but aren't getting it through at real pace. Brent Arnel is a prospect. He looks like he's modelled himself on Shane Bond with a nice action and small delivery stride," Morrison said.

"I also saw Corey Anderson up close at the Hong Kong Sixes last year, albeit off a shorter run-up. He had a strong, powerful action with a top speed of over 140km/h. Andy McKay gets it through too."