Cricket: Vettori's days in ODI arena are numbered

By Andrew Alderson

Daniel Vettori is considering retiring from one-day international cricket to prolong his test career.

His recent knee injury, sustained in last week's win over Pakistan, has brought home the reality New Zealand may lose his services sooner rather than later.

Sources in New Zealand cricket circles suggest the Black Caps captain is weighing up his options to step back after the World Cup.

That means he would play tests, something he loves, and possibly Twenty20 internationals to ensure he remains marketable to future editions of the Indian Premier League.

This season he has been bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, a franchise where billionaire owner Vijay Mallya sees him as a player with the sort of impact to replace Anil Kumble as a spinning all-rounder this season.

If Vettori was lost to one-day cricket, it would signal the end to a career in that form that started back in March 1997 against Sri Lanka, having made his test debut against England the previous month.

There are high school cricketers who were not born when his name first appeared on a Black Caps teamsheet - team-mate Kane Williamson was in his third year of primary school.

Over the next few weeks, New Zealand cricket fans must prepare for the beginning of that post-Vettori era. No decision has been made on any retirement, but it's understood he has started to consider the prospect.

Understandably, Vettori won't talk about the possibility until he's absolutely sure. He's unlikely to do that during the World Cup.

The 32-year-old values his role leading the team and considers it could be distracting to the campaign if the focus drifts from the New Zealand cause.

Even if he does step away from coloured clothing, it's expected he will continue to play test cricket for some years yet, especially with records like Richard Hadlee's 431 wickets and Kapil Dev's double of 4000 test runs and 400 wickets on the horizon.

Vettori has 4167 test runs and 345 wickets.

There was palpable relief among the Black Caps contingent at the Taj Mahal Hotel on Mumbai's waterfront on Thursday when he returned with news of a strained posterior cruciate ligament to his right knee.

It means he could return as early as Friday's match against Sri Lanka and should be able to lead New Zealand until the end of the tournament.

He should finish his tenure as captain playing rather than resting his leg.

Many will argue with three weeks to go in the competition it's too early to be talking about players' futures but it can be a motivating factor if their team-mates realise the curtain is descending.

Sri Lankan icon Muttiah Muralitharan has stated his intention to retire after the tournament and it seems unlikely New Zealand and Australia would see a 41-year-old Sachin Tendulkar at the 2015 World Cup.

Two other notable servants to the New Zealand team could also be playing their last tournaments. Jacob Oram, 32, is yet to decide whether he will continue to play one-day internationals, having already ended his test career. He is likely to make a decision during the winter.

At 35, Scott Styris could also be on his last one-day campaign with the Black Caps after retiring from tests more than three years ago.

He was unavailable to discuss his future this week but will continue his service with the Chennai Super Kings in this year's IPL.

Kyle Mills turns 32 on Tuesday. At this stage he is keen to play beyond the World Cup.

It could be a new-look New Zealand side that takes the field on the Zimbabwe tour scheduled for May and June.

- Herald on Sunday

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