New Zealand news December 4, 2012

Vettori out of South Africa Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Daniel Vettori has been ruled out of New Zealand's Test matches in South Africa which begin early next year. He has not recovered from hernia and Achilles injuries, the latter picked up during the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Vettori, 33, has missed New Zealand's last five Tests against Sri Lanka, India and West Indies having initially suffered a groin injury in the Caribbean. He had hoped to prove his recovery from the latest setbacks in the Plunket Shield for Northern Districts but has not been able to make an appearance.

With Vettori unavailable Jeetan Patel, the offspinner, will remain the No. 1 slow bowler while Todd Astle, who made his debut in Colombo last week when New Zealand levelled the series, could be included as a second option.

New Zealand play two Tests in South Africa, the first in Cape Town starting on January 2 followed by one in Port Elizabeth from January 11.

There are reports emerging that New Zealand may not be led by Ross Taylor for the tour - which also includes Twenty20s and ODIs - after his relationship with coach Mike Hesson reached breaking point despite the impressive series-leveling victory in Colombo. Taylor, however, tweeted* he had given no ultimatum to New Zealand Cricket or made any decisions about his captaincy. "A lot of speculation out there. I have heard from the CEO once," he said on Twitter. "I haven't made any decisions. At no time have I given NZC any... ...ultimatums about Hesson or Me or South Africa."

Other than the win in Colombo it has been a difficult year for New Zealand with Test series defeats at home to South Africa then away in West Indies and India while they were knocked out in the Super Eights of the World Twenty20. They have also lost 10 of their last 13 ODIs and in the latest ICC rankings have slipped to ninth behind Bangladesh.

Taylor was named captain in June last year following Vettori's reign having previously done the job as a stand-in. The captaincy had a positive impact on Taylor's Test average with it rising to 49.85 from 13 Tests compared to his overall figure of 43.57 and he struck three hundreds in those matches, including a crucial 142 in Colombo recently.

* - 0500GMT, December 5, 2012 - The story was updated to include Ross Taylor's tweets