Vettori marks return with five
Daniel Vettori claimed a five-wicket haul on his return to first-class cricket after a gap of 15 months as he attempts his latest comeback from Achilles trouble.
He ended the second day of the Plunket Shield match against Auckland in Hamilton with 5 for 39 from 22 overs to boost his prospects of making a return to the New Zealand Test side for series against West Indies and India.
Vettori's previous first-class outing was the Test against West Indies in Antigua last July after which he picked up the Achilles problem which has been the main reason for him missing so much cricket over the past year. He made brief comebacks during the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in England, but after the latter was forced to undergo further surgery.
Vettori's first wicket was Craig Cachopa and he also claimed Bruce Martin - the fellow left-arm spinner who has recently filled Vettori's Test spot - among his five wickets.
He was bowling alongside Ish Sodhi, the legspinner, who is the latest option New Zealand have tried in their Test side during Vettori's injury lay-off. Sodhi took six wickets in his first two appearances against Bangladesh having kept his place in the side while Martin lost his following a poor first Test.
Martin began promisingly as Vettori's replacement with nine wickets in his first two Tests against England but claimed just three in his next three appearances. Offspinner Jeetan Patel and legspinner Todd Astle have also played in Vettori's absence.
Having bowled 22 overs in a day the crucial aspect now will be how Vettori's ankle responds to the workload. The New Zealand management will be cautious about rushing him back into Test action until they are convinced he can withstand the strain.
The first Test against West Indies begins in Dunedin begins on December 3. Vettori currently sits on 360 Test wickets.
His eye-catching return is the second in a week for a New Zealand international who has had an extended period on the sidelines following Jesse Ryder's comeback hundred for Otago.