September 20, 2000

Vettori could be back for South African leg

New Zealand cricket coach David Trist is hopeful that left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori will be back in action in time for the tour of South Africa starting next month.

Vettori will be on his way home today suffering a recurrence of the back injury that forced him out of Test cricket at the end of last season.

He suffered the injury while bowling during the first innings of New Zealand's Test victory over Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last week.

Also coming home is opener Matt Horne, who posted his fourth Test century in the same match although batting with a chipped bone in his thumb. It is also hoped that Horne will be fit in time for the first-class and Test programme in South Africa, starting in November.

A scan of Vettori's back in Zimbabwe showed no signs of a fracture, Trist said.

"However, Daniel is in pain and it's obvious we still haven't got to the bottom of what is troubling him," he said.

"The medical team will take over when he gets home to New Zealand and I'm very optimistic that we will see him back sometime during the series against South Africa which starts later next month."

Meanwhile, Trist said the New Zealand side was devastated when Mark Richardson was given out on 99 at the end of the first day's play in the second test.

"He was given out lbw after hitting the ball onto his pads from a bowler bowling around the wicket," Trist said.