Andrew Alderson

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

Cricket: Vettori in doubt for Trophy matches

Daniel Vettori. Photo / Getty Images
Daniel Vettori. Photo / Getty Images

Daniel Vettori's prospects of playing for New Zealand at the Champions Trophy have worsened. The 34-year-old withdrew from the first of three one-day internationals against England after aggravating his Achilles injury at Lord's on match day.

Captain Brendon McCullum admitted concern at the post-match media conference: "Dan was going to play ... we're now going to assess it. It's still too early to make a call on the Champions Trophy but you're always worried when 270-odd games of experience pulls up injured."

The form and fitness of the country's most successful and experienced limited overs bowler had held since he was ruled out of the Headingley test. He was retired on 150 and took four wickets in the practice match against a Northamptonshire XI last week.

In 268 ODI matches for New Zealand and four for the World XI in 2005 he has 282 wickets at 31.48, with an economy rate of 4.12. In England those figures are enhanced. In 13 ODIs here he has 14 wickets at 23.35 and an economy rate of 3.79.

If Vettori plays at any stage, it will be his first ODI since retiring temporarily from the format in 2011 after New Zealand's exit from the World Cup semifinals in Colombo.

Vettori has had a cortisone and saline solution injected into his Achilles tendon to mitigate the pain. He is also working back from a hernia operation in November where mesh was inserted to reinforce his lower stomach. On Thursday he said he'd got through a lot of training in India but would have loved more of a build-up. He had been confident of bowling his 10-over allotment at Lord's, the venue where his five wickets for 30 runs in the 2004 NatWest Tri-series final against the West Indies remain the best ODI figures by an international bowler.

He said "confident" probably wasn't the right word regarding his return but he was "looking forward to it".

McCullum was relieved brother Nathan had stepped into the side and taken two key England middle-order wickets: Joe Root and Jonathan Trott.

"He did a brilliant job bowling 10 straight overs in the middle stages against good players of spin. To pick up wickets was outstanding. He's a confidence player so could take a lot out of the performance."

New Zealand has already swapped two players from their original Champions Trophy squad with approval from the event technical committee. Ian Butler came in for Trent Boult on Friday. Earlier, Doug Bracewell replaced Andrew Ellis.

- Herald on Sunday

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