Daniel Vettori will rest his delicate back for the Test series after he was named 12th man for the fourth one-day match against Australia at Wellington's Basin Reserve tomorrow. The precaution is a blow for New Zealand as Vettori was the side's best bowler in the first three matches of the series, which Australia sealed at Auckland on Saturday.
New Zealand were forced to reshuffle their side, which is missing Michael Papps after he was twice stuck in the head by Brett Lee, and handed a debut to Lance Hamilton, the left-arm seamer. Otago's Craig Cumming will play his 11th match while Jeff Wilson is recalled for his sixth game after he was hit for 57 in six overs during the second ODI at Christchurch.
The side is missing valuable experience but John Bracewell, the coach, is also worried about the below-average returns of his big guns Stephen Fleming and Chris Cairns. "These guys know all about their responsibilities, they're acutely aware of the need to put their hands up," he told reporters in Wellington. "We know they're the best players we've got, and we know they're going to give us the best chance of doing well against Australia, so it's important to support them."
New Zealand need to win one of the remaining two games to hold their No. 2 ranking ahead of the 2007 World Cup seedings, which are finalised in April. If Australia cleansweep the five-match contest the Kiwis will swap places with Sri Lanka.
New Zealand 1 Stephen Fleming (capt), 2 Nathan Astle, 3 Hamish Marshall, 4 Craig McMillan, 5 James Marshall, 6 Craig Cumming, 7 Chris Cairns, 8 Brendon McCullum, 9 Jeff Wilson, 10 Lance Hamilton, 11 Kyle Mills, 12 Daniel Vettori.