Cricket: Vettori quits T20s, to consider ODI future

By Andrew Alderson in Colombo

Daniel Vettori has finished his tenure as New Zealand cricket captain in the brave but ultimately disappointing semi-final loss to Sri Lanka at the World Cup.

The Black Caps lost by five wickets with 13 balls to spare but scared Sri Lanka in the final overs, forcing a collapse of four for 25 after the hosts needed just 58 runs from 104 balls to chase 218 to win.

Vettori joins Glenn Turner, Mark Burgess, Martin Crowe and Stephen Fleming as men who have also led New Zealand to a final four exit.
He completes a term of just under three and a half years taking the field as skipper. He was appointed to take over from Fleming following the last World Cup in the Caribbean.

The 32-year-old has also retired from Twenty20 internationals but is yet to decide if he will continue in one-dayers. The next ODI for New Zealand is over six months away in Zimbabwe.

"I have a lot of time to sit down and think about it [retiring from ODIs] and talk to my family. I may take a break but it mightn't be my last one-dayer.

He will continue to play tests.

"They're a big part of why I play the game. There is no better feeling than winning a test."

Vettori has been at his best leading the side in recent matches displaying innovation, tenacity and an aggression which even saw him fined a percentage of his match fee (90 per cent) when the competitive drive spilt over against South Africa in the quarter-final. It was the first time in his career that had happened.

The tournament result must be relatively satisfying after a tumultuous few months. The semi-final exit follows 11 straight one-day losses on the sub-continent, John Wright being thrust into the head coach role and a potentially tournament-ending knee injury in the win over Pakistan.

Vettori was proud of the fight shown in this tournament.

"It has been there most games and when you see that belief from fielders and bowlers you know there is always a chance. When you see guys give up that's the hardest thing as a captain, but I never saw that today."

More innovation was at work with the gut-feel decision to play Andy McKay over Daryl Tuffey or Luke Woodcock in the knock-out match. McKay put up a strong display of left-arm pace, returning one wicket for 37 runs from 9.5 overs, almost matching Vettori's one for 36 from 10.

"He bowled really well," Vettori said. "We took a gamble from his form at home. He's a good reverse swing bowler and we felt three spinners wouldn't be right. I twisted on it this morning but decided to go with Andy and Wrighty backed it."

Vettori took a few other positives out of the ultimate grief.

"We fought as hard as we could but we lost too many wickets in those last ten overs after the top order put up a great platform [165 for four after 40 overs].

Vettori acknowledged it was a reflection of the team's inconsistency.

"To be fair that's the nature of a lot of teams in world cricket. Ours has been identified through our losses late last year. We've got to find a way to be more successful on the sub-continent. If we want to be a quality team we've got to win everywhere.

"The batsmen are starting to develop and understand their roles. Of the players, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee and Nathan McCullum stood out. There will be different stages of grief for the guys between those beginning and ending their careers but this result is a catalyst for many to get better."

Vettori captained New Zealand in 32 tests for six wins, 16 losses and 10 draws. In his 71 one-dayers as official skipper he won 33, lost 30, had one tie and seven no results. He also stepped in to lead 11 times in Stephen Fleming's absence for eight wins and three losses. In T20s Vettori had a 13 win, 13 loss, two no result record.

In each format, apart from Twenty20 where he captained New Zealand in all his matches, Vettori has a better batting and bowling average as skipper.

- Herald on Sunday

- NZ Herald

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