New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 5th day March 31, 2010

Vettori faces same old problems


It's not surprising Daniel Vettori looked a tired man after New Zealand's loss in Hamilton. Captain, selector, No. 6 batsman and best bowler is a heavy burden for Vettori.

He bowled 67.3 overs at Seddon Park and flies out in a couple of days to join Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. It will be a welcome break from his many tasks.

However, the time will come when Vettori and his fellow selectors Mark Greatbatch and Glenn Turner must make some decisions on the future of their Test team. Their next five-day challenges come on a tour of Bangladesh and India in six months and the opportunity to regroup will be valuable after a summer in which they won two Tests, lost three and drew one.

The form of Brendon McCullum was a positive from the series loss to Australia, while Martin Guptill made some progress and Ross Taylor fired with a century. But right throughout the summer New Zealand have had issues in two facets of the game that have become familiar problems.

"It is probably the same old theme of trying to get more out of our top three and still looking for that strike weapon with the ball," Vettori said after the 176-run loss in Hamilton. "If we can solve those two problems then the rest of the components within the Test side are not too bad."

The first issue will be eased by the return of Jesse Ryder, who hasn't played a Test this summer due to an ongoing groin injury. His eventual comeback might bump Vettori down from No. 6 but it won't solve the bowling concerns, with the form of the 35-year-old fast man Chris Martin a particular worry.

Martin finished the Australian series with 1 for 260 and his season return of 16 wickets at 47.93 in six Tests was disappointing for a man who should be the strike weapon. Martin's pace has been down but Vettori remained confident he could still play a part in the Test team's future and build on his career tally of 181 wickets.

"I hope people don't write his obituary just yet," Vettori said. "I know he is determined to play for a while longer. He wants 200 Test wickets and I'm really confident Chris Martin can be in the mix with the fast bowlers [for the next tours]. I know he wants to and is desperate to. He is not pleased with his performance in this Test match and hopefully that makes him hungry to get better and get stronger for next season."

Jeetan Patel was another member of the attack who struggled for impact during the summer with four wickets at 74.50 in his two Tests against Australia and Bangladesh. There are other spin options around New Zealand, including slow-bowling allrounders like Nathan McCullum and Luke Woodcock, but Vettori was happy with Patel's status as the second-best spinner in the country.

"They need to bang the door down with their domestic performances," Vettori said. "Jeetan tends to dominate at that first-class level and he's a very good bowler. Sometimes when he is in and out of the team it is difficult so with some Tests coming up on the subcontinent that is his real opportunity to shine."

Such decisions can be postponed for the time being. For now, the New Zealanders can focus on the shortest format. The World Twenty20 starts in a month and before that Vettori can fly to India and remember what it's like to concentrate solely on his own game.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sam on April 1, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    I agree with junior7 about Dan Vettori. We need someone who can really bowl fast and give the batsman something to worry about like we had with Shane Bond and Iain O'Brien. I'd like to see Andy McKay get a go over Chris Martin. Also with Ryder coming back and Kane Williamson coming into the mix the batting looks alot stronger. 1. McIntosh,2. Watling, 3. Williamson, 4.Taylor, 5. Ryder, 6. Guptil, 7. McCullum, 8. Vettori, 9.Tuffey, 10. Southee, 11. Mckay.

  • Richard on April 1, 2010, 3:12 GMT

    I agree with the idea of a North and South NZ team in the Sheffield Cup - convincing the ACB that its a good idea might be the biggest issue there. I thought the selection of Sinclair was boring and weak. The Series could not be won, why not take the opportunity to blood a young talent (Kane Williamson) and get some experience into him. Take the pressure off him to score massively, but get him to spend some time in the middle against one of the worlds best teams. Sure, he might go for a duck and get hit for a few, but it would have made no difference to the result. How many chances does Sinclair need? He made two amazing scores early on, took the best catch I've ever seen, and then failed to step up from the domestic to the international standard time and time again. Be brave, NZCB, look to the future.

  • Guy on April 1, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    As an Aussie, I think a lot of these kiwi-bashing comments are pretty unnecessary. I'd hate to read a NZ rugby website talking about the quality of our Super 14 teams! Anyway, here's a suggestion: there's no way the Sheffield Shield will expand to 8 teams (+ nth and sth islands) - 14 games is too many with all this big bash 20-20 stuff. But nth and sth island teams could tour Aust in Oct/Nov each year before the NZ first class season starts and play each shield team in Australian conditions. Points from these games could count towards the shield table and affect which Aust teams make the shield final, so they'd have something to play for. Or you could limit it to a single NZ 'A' side. Would be a good vehicle for both young NZ players and shield players. By the way, Danny Vettori is a legend and would walk into the Australian side. His control of flight and pace is world-class and his bowling average reflects a lack of support at the other end. Wouldn't mind Ross Taylor at no 6 either.

  • Tim on March 31, 2010, 23:46 GMT

    It is the same old story for NZ at Test level. Dan does an unbelieveable job in holding the ediface together but he needs support from the 10 other players in the side & he doesn't get it regularly enough, even though the talent is there. This is the problem NZ faces & must overcome if they are to progress against the better teams. That said, NZ's test side has undergone a lot of enforced changes over the last 4 years or so & many of the younger players are inexperienced at the top level. They need to play more Test cricket to improve but NZ don't play a lot of Test matches - 1 or 2 in a series (& many of those series against the lower ranked teams) is no help to those seeking to get better at this level. It's a vicious circle for them.

  • Aaron on March 31, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    If the Aussie's can use the Super14 to improve the standard of Rugby in Australia then yes, we should certainly do the same with cricket - as we have with soccer, league and basketball (Hell now that I write that list I can't figure out why NZC didn't try this years ago). I'm not sure it would quite get us to the very top - our population base is too small to be number 1 contenders for both rugby and cricket but at least it would help get us some respect. Although my big fear is that even our national side would struggle in the Sheffield shield at the moment! I'm sure things won't be like this forever though - we were the number 3 side in the world at Fleming's peak and realistically we're still dealing with the fallout from Bracewell's disasterous regime - there is no reason why we can't be properly competitive again.

  • jeff on March 31, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    the problem is mentally we arent there, especially in regards to shot selection, and technically we arent that flash either. also, everyone saying vettori is the only hope should remember he is in the side to bowl. aside from the rest of the order failing he has to bat at 6 to keep his spot, because he just isnt taking wickets. it is little wonder he keeps getting jeetan to play so the spin isnt all on him. a good player no doubt, especially limited overs, but hes just no penetrative enough in tests.

  • James on March 31, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    Tim McIntosh1 BJ Watling2 Ross Taylor3 KS Williamson 4 Jesse Ryder5 Daniel Vettori 6 Brendon McCullum7 Tim Southee8 Brent Arnel9 AJ McKay 10 Mat Over Mdns Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ CS Martin (NZ) 2 62.0 7 260 1 1/115 1/158 260.00 4.19 372.0 yet they still pick him

  • zaid on March 31, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    new zealand is great team with good players, but they are best in limited overs,there okay in test but it isnt thier speacilty. anyways i hope newzealand wins the twenty 20 world cup or west indies

  • Ben on March 31, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    All these non-kiwis need to relax and leave us alone. There's always going to be better and worse teams in world test cricket. Every other team in world cricket (WI excepted) come from countries with massive population, financial resource and player depths to draw from. We lost two tests to arguably the best side in the world and everyone's talking like we've lost our mojo - which we haven't! We were competitive in the one-dayers and the hit and giggle so what's the fuss? A few injuries in a small player pool like our is of course going to devastate our national side. Big deal. I understand it must be the avowed goal of captain, coach and country to become number one, but hell, didn't we improve a lot from the first test to the second against Australia? Damn right we did! I do strongly agree that NZ should have at least 2-3 teams in the Autralian domestic competition, however, if they would have us.

  • michael on March 31, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    drop martin, patel, mcintosh..1.Watling 2.McCullem 3.Sinclair 4.Taylor 5.Rhyder 6.Williamson 7.Vettori 8.Franklin 9.Tuffey/Mckay 10.Southee 11.Mills- If McCullem opens maybe sinclair and co wont have to play in the first over. Taylor down to franklin looks like a pretty strong batting order aswel. If injuries dont curse nz they could be alryt in their next test series.

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