New Zealand all-rounder Daniel Vettori expects to miss the upcoming Sri Lankan series with a nagging Achilles injury, but hopes to be fit for the tests in South Africa over Christmas and New Year.
The Black Caps touched down in Auckland this afternoon after their disappointing World Twenty20 campaign in Sri Lanka where they were bundled out of the tournament at the Super Eight stage.
Vettori said he would know more about the extent of his injury when he went for scans tomorrow but didn't expect to return to the sub-continent when New Zealand meet Sri Lanka in one T20, five one-dayers and two tests from October 30.
He planned to prove his fitness and find some form with Northern Districts ahead of the tour to South Africa, but would be available only for test selection.
The left-armer hasn't played a one-dayer for New Zealand since March 29 last year and came out of international T20 retirement only for this month's tournament.
Vettori, who turns 34 in January, sounded jaded from the lengthy trip home. He said the ongoing grind of international cricket - of which he has been part since 1997 - was beginning to take its toll.
He has previously said he wanted to play on to the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia but today was non-committal about whether he could make it that far.
"It's going to be tough but it's sort of there in the back of my mind. But I think when injuries start to plague you then you probably reassess your goals. So I'll try and get through this injury and see what happens. Then hopefully I'll be able to make a better, informed decision rather than just react to another injury.
"I'm going to have a third kid soon so all those sorts of things factor in to it; being away from family. But once again, I'll just wait and see how this injury comes up."
Vettori has collected 360 test wickets from 112 test matches, but has denied suggestions Sir Richard Hadlee's long-standing record of 431 scalps was what motivated him to keep playing in the whites.
"That's never really driven me. I think 400 wickets drove me for a long time. But once again, you sort of reassess your goals once you get a little bit older and the injuries play a little bit of a part. Richard's record is pretty amazing, I would almost feel too uncomfortable taking it off him. I'll take 430 or something like that; that'd be nice."
One of the burning issues to come out of New Zealand's substandard effort at the Twenty20 World Cup was Ross Taylor's captaincy, but Vettori endorsed the swashbuckling right-hander as the man for the job.
"I think for me, personally, I look at a leader as a captain who performs first and foremost and you look at Ross's record since he's taken over the captaincy - his personal record - and I think that's what guys look at; well that's what I look at and I think that's been pretty impressive so far."