New Zealand news January 30, 2013

Vettori set to miss England Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand left-arm spinner, is unlikely to be fit in time for the home Test series against England, which begins on March 6. Vettori is recovering from an Achilles tendon strain, and hopes to return to Test cricket on New Zealand's tour to England in May.

While he could be playing competitive cricket in a month's time, Vettori said he would not be able to play the long format right away. He told Fairfax NZ News that he was targeting a March return to List A cricket: "I'm hoping to be available for selection for Northern Districts' one-day campaign [that begins on February 28], and then whatever happens from there happens. I won't be able to play any four-day cricket, so the Test matches against England may be a stretch for me.

"That [New Zealand's tour of England] is probably a more realistic goal, but Achilles are funny things, they come and go with the pain and I need to prove to not only the selectors, but myself, that I can manage back-to-back days of cricket. That's the plan, but I'll just see how I go."

Vettori suffered the Achilles problem on and off over the last year, and also picked up a groin injury during the tour of the West Indies in July-August. That groin injury kept him out of the India Test series that followed, but he made a comeback in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September, where the Achilles heel injury recurred at the end of the group stage of matches. He missed the rest of the tournament and tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa subsequently, and is currently undergoing a four-month rehabilitation programme.

Vettori said he was about "three-quarters of the way through" that programme. A New Zealand Cricket spokesperson reportedly backed that up, saying Vettori was progressing well and his fitness would be reassessed in two to three weeks before a decision is taken on his intended return to domestic cricket in March.

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  • Nicholas on February 2, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    KP must be over the moon! Left-arm spinners to KP are like a bad dose of achilles tendonitis to fast bowlers.

  • Beau on February 2, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    OK, so we've established that Vettori is not as effective at taking wickets when he doesn't get any support from his bowling colleagues - What a surprise! And he doesn't bat as effectively when forced up the order and comes in at 4/50 or so - Again, I am shocked.

    Does anyone else think wistfully of his reliable 2 to 2.5 runs an over bowling while watching Patel and co serve up two boundary-magnets every over? I sure do. I bet Southee, Boult and Bracewell do, too.

  • Ian on January 31, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Vettori will undoubtedly be missed as, lets face it, you can't buy his sort of experience and knowledge at the local shops. He has a presence about him and is respected by his opponents. As others have pointed out, he is also a potent lower order batsman. Where I disagree with some posters here is his importance as a spinner. I think even his most ardent supporters would have to admit that he hasn't truly spun a cricket ball for at least 3 years now. He puts hardly any revs on the ball and relies on accurcay and a sprinkling of darts to contain the opposition. So, a good slow bowler, but no longer a spinner as such. Have to say though, I have great admiration for him and for his career. A guy its hard not to like.

  • Dayne on January 31, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Sorry to those bored by detailed statistical analysis (I mean that) but my numbers suggest that Vettori is either out of form (highly possible) or, a darker concern of mine, losing a bit of effect.

    You will see, if you bothered reading it lol, that his batting has remained handy, especially at the rate in which he scores his runs, throughout the last 5 years (his overall average of 37 is excellent for what he is), however his bowling seems to move more and more toward containment only. His 189 balls per wicket since 01/11/2011 is alarming, as that's 220.3 overs he's sent down for 7 wickets.

    In a period spanning 19/12/2003 - 23/03/2010 Vettori scored 2877 runs @ 41.69. That's on par with A Strauss & M Waugh. So those who say Vettori shouldn't play as he doesn't take wickets are missing some of the story.

    He used to be, unfairly I believe, called a world-class spinner. He isn't and never was. What he is is a tremendously handy cricketer, one NZ is better with than without, esp. now.

  • Dayne on January 31, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    @Tony Payne - whilst the figures you refer to are accurate, I wish to draw your attention to the following:

    Vettori since and including the test 04/01/2008 (vs. Bang):

    Bowl: 123 wickets @ 34.63 runs per wicket (7 x 5wi, s/rate 85.00 balls per wicket, e/r 2.44 runs per over)

    Bat: 2,156 runs @ 37.17 runs per dismissal (4 x 100s, 10 x 50s, s/rate 61.42 runs per 100 balls)

    Vettori since and including the test 15/02/2010 (vs. Bang):

    Bowl: 42 wickets @ 40.57 runs per wicket (2 x 5wi, s/rate 102.81 balls per wicket, e/r 2.37 runs per over)

    Bat: 714 runs @ 28.56 runs per dismissal (1 x 100, 2 x 50s, s/rate 61.29 runs per 100 balls)

    Vettori since and including the test 01/11/2011 (vs. Zim):

    Bowl: 7 wickets @ 75.29 runs per wicket (0 x 5wi, s/rate 189.00 balls per wicket, e/r 2.39 runs per over)

    Bat: 278 runs @ 27.80 runs per dismissal (1 x 100, 1 x 50, 61.37 runs per 100 balls)

    His bowling is in substantial decline, and his batting, whilst still handy, is also moving the wrong way.

  • Colin on January 30, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Hey I think Jonesy2 is right; NZ are a good team. I think Bracewell is a decent cricketer. I seem to remember him dismantling the Aussie batting line up in Australia not very long ago. Mind you, that isn't saying a lot these days.

  • John on January 30, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    @davidpk on (January 30 2013, 12:38 PM GMT) Ironically they also drew their last series in Australia too

  • John on January 30, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    @Tony Payne on (January 30 2013, 07:20 AM GMT) I think you're probably right. Also re his bowling average , at least half his matches would be in conditions less favourable to spin and he's not exactly got a potent attack to work alongside

  • Daniel on January 30, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    davidpk, how soon we forget that NZ just drew a test series in Sri Lanka a couple months ago.