Vettori to play only Tests
Daniel Vettori, the former New Zealand captain, has confirmed that he will be taking a break from one-day and Twenty20 cricket in an effort to prolong his Test career.
"My reason for taking a break from the shorter forms of the game is primarily so that I can preserve my body and continue to represent New Zealand in Test cricket," Vettori said. "I also believe a break now will give me the best possible chance to take up one-day cricket again in the next couple of years and, if all goes well, make the World Cup team for 2015."
Vettori has been battling a knee problem: he hurt his right knee during New Zealand's World Cup league game against Pakistan in March. He missed the rest of his side's league games, before returning to play in the quarter and semi-final matches, and struggled during the IPL with the injury. He said that one of the reasons for the break was injury management. "Part of the break is around injuries," he told the Weekend Herald, "and trying to stay a little bit fresher and I'll reassess the situation at the end of the contract year and go again from there."
Vettori, who made his debut at the age of 18, is the youngest to play Test cricket for New Zealand and is one of eight players to have the double of 300 Test wickets and 3000 runs. With 345 Test wickets, Vettori could close in on Richard Hadlee's 431, and only Stephen Fleming has played more Tests for New Zealand.
New Zealand have a busy summer, playing Tests against Zimbabwe, Australia and South Africa and Vettori hoped to be fully-prepared for the challenge. "I want to play Tests as long as I can," he said. "That's the part of the game I've always loved. I want to be fully fit and prepared and ready to go for those, and sometimes a lack of preparation can hinder your Test performance. So hopefully there's a nice buildup to each of those series and I can hit the ground running."
Vettori has already been succeeded as New Zealand captain by Ross Taylor, who had served as his deputy. "I think Ross will do a great job. I don't know where that conservative tag comes from because I don't think he'll be like that at all. He's got a really good cricket brain," Vettori said.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said he respected Vettori's decision and was delighted to know he has kept his options open for the future. "Dan has been a great servant for a long time now and I believe this decision is not only in his best interest but also for New Zealand," he said. "The fact that he has signalled a desire to play ODIs and Twenty20s in the future and possibly make a return when we co-host the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is great.
"Although he's taking a break from 50-over cricket, I look forward to seeing him turn out in the whites for New Zealand, as I'm sure are many cricket fans around the country."
Vettori will continue to play first-class cricket for the Northern Districts and will also honour his commitment to play for the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the IPL. He is likely to feature in the Plunket Shield as well as the HRV Cup Twenty20 competitions for Northern Districts.
"They're [Northern Districts] keen for me to be involved and it's obviously less intense than international stuff," Vettori said. "I'll sit down and decide on that in the next little while because they need some answers too and are looking at overseas players and what to do with that."
Offspinner Nathan McCullum and left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock were part of New Zealand's World Cup squad and Vettori said he would be "happy to fight" for a place in the national side, should another spinner seal a permanent spot in the shorter versions.
"I think that would be a good thing for me, reignite that challenge to fight pretty hard for a place in the team. It's weighed on my mind that I might fall back into the pack and may not be able to fight my way back. But you've got to back yourself if you want to get back."