Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Vettori set for Lord's comeback

Daniel Vettori's fine one-day international record at Lord's looks set to continue tonight.

His first appearance was as man-of-the-match in the NatWest tri-series final of 2004 against the West Indies. He took five for 30 from 9.2 overs; they remain the best bowling figures in an ODI at the ground.

His second match in 2008 reaped three for 32 and helped New Zealand take the series 3-1 under his leadership. Ever a student of the game, Vettori pointed out they won that after losing the test series 2-0.

The 34-year-old is already on the visitors' test honours board with a five for 69 in 2008 but says his favourite Lord's memory was being part of the side which won a test in 1999.

It will be Vettori's first ODI since retiring temporarily from the format in 2011 after New Zealand's exit from the World Cup semi-finals in Colombo.

His form and fitness have held since he was ruled out of the Headingley test.

Vettori was retired on 150 and took four wickets in the practice match against a Northamptonshire Invitational XI earlier this week.

"I got through a lot of training in India and then a club game recently but it's not the same. I'd love to have a bit more of a build-up."

Vettori said he wasn't as close as many thought to making a test return but expects to be capable of bowling his 10-over allotment tonight (New Zealand time). He said "confident" probably wasn't the right word but he was "looking forward to it". Vettori was cautious on whether he will play all formats simultaneously again.

"I'd like to but it's difficult because I don't want to put any pressure on Brendon [captain McCullum] and Mike [coach Hesson] to say 'I'm available' then 'I'm not available'. That's the hardest part about having an injury.

"It's probably more when you're on the constant grind of playing in all three formats and going to Twenty20 tournaments that it becomes harder."

He expected the injection of experience to help eradicate the "self-doubt" McCullum said had crept into the test side.

"I think the guys go into this format more comfortable and that's been the same for years. There's a lot of experienced one-day internationals players returning. "

Vettori's return means New Zealand will be likely to leave out fellow spinner Nathan McCullum, especially with two new Kookaburra balls being used at either end. Duke, the traditional English red ball manufacturers do not produce a white version.

As expected, Trent Boult has been ruled out of the series and almost certainly the Champions Trophy with a right side strain. He's expected to recover in up to eight weeks. Ian Butler has replaced him in the squad.

Grant Elliott, James Franklin and Colin Munro are expected to contest two spots in the final New Zealand XI. Tim Bresnan's availability for England is dependent on when his wife goes into labour.

Probable XIs
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Luke Ronchi, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Colin Munro/Grant Elliott, Brendon McCullum (c), James Franklin, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan.

England: Alastair Cook (c), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Joss Buttler, Tim Bresnan/Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steve Finn, James Anderson.

- NZ Herald

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