New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2009

Tuffey wiser and fitter for international comeback

Cricinfo staff

July 8, 2009

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Daryl Tuffey works on his bowling, Bridgetown, Barbados, March 7, 2007
Daryl Tuffey returns to international cricket after a two-year exile © Getty Images
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Daryl Tuffey was one of the notable inclusions in New Zealand's Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, and he's keen to "make up for lost time" after his two-year break from international cricket as a result of his participation in the ICL.

Tuffey, 31, last represented New Zealand in a Test in June 2004, against England at Headingley though he played ODIs until the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

"I haven't played a Test since 2004 and I thought my Test career was over even a year ago," Tuffey told the Dominion Post. "I'd like to think I'm a little wiser after a couple of years out. I think I'm physically stronger than I was when I was playing a few years ago."

Tuffey opted to join the ICL in October 2007, a few months after he had been left out of the side for the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa. He represented Chandigarh Lions in the ICL before severing his ties with the league earlier in the year upon being offered an amnesty by New Zealand Cricket.

The fast bowler had a successful time with Auckland in the State Championship; he finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the competition with 27 at 20.96. Tuffey said his stint in India played an important role in helping him regain fitness and be eligible to play for his country.

"Playing Twenty20 in the ICL has given my body a chance to heal over the last few years especially with shoulder injuries," he said. "I think I'm bowling a tad sharper than when I was a couple of years ago, especially the latter half of last summer I thought the ball was coming out really good and ... it was swinging as well."

Another player on the comeback trail is Craig Cumming, the opener, who was surprised at his selection for the Test squad. Cumming played his last Test in January 2008, against Bangladesh in Wellington. Like Tuffey, his selection was a consequence of his prolific domestic season. He scored 784 runs at 65.33 for Otago, including a record of four centuries for the province, and backed it up with success in the limited-overs format, making 421 at 70.16.

"I was pretty surprised based on missing out on a [New Zealand Cricket] contract when they came out a couple of weeks ago and finding out where I was ranked," he told the Otago Daily Times. "But in saying that ... my form was as good as it has ever been and I was playing as well as I ever have."

His technique against spin also contributed to his inclusion, Cumming said. "In the last two games of the domestic season Otago played on a couple of turning tracks. I had to face Jeetan Patel and got a 100 and got another 100 against Canterbury when the ball was turning square," he said. "I feel it is a strength of mine, but it is different when you are facing Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan]."

New Zealand play Sri Lanka in two Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals in August and September.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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