Andrew Alderson

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

Cricket: Vettori on deadline

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

Daniel Vettori is expecting no favours and none will be given as his progress back to international cricket took its latest turn last night.

The 35-year-old met New Zealand coach Mike Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum to discuss his future.

Hesson will consider Vettori for the 2015 World Cup on one condition: "It is dependent on his fitness. We don't want to rush him back so he won't be considered for the World T20 [in Bangladesh during March]."

Vettori's verdict was clear.

"The West Indies tour in May and June will be make or break for me," he said last night. "I want to commit to that tour otherwise it will be too hard to keep trying to come back. I've got to be in a realistic position where I'm ready to push [for a World Cup place] from there. I can't give anyone a guarantee but NZC will make that call."

Vettori recovered from Achilles tendon surgery in June only to suffer a back strain which required painkilling injections while playing for the Brisbane Heat in Australia's T20 Big Bash League.

In spite of the pain, Vettori recorded respectable statistics of seven wickets at 25 with an economy rate of 6.25 runs per over in seven matches.

"Mike and Brendon made it clear that if I play for New Zealand again I've got to deliver in all three facets of the game, which is completely fair. I can't just bowl 24 balls and then expect to be hidden in the outfield [during the World T20].

"I've also got to consider the deal I've signed to coach RCB [the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League] which could require me to be there three weeks early. That might create a difficult situation regarding the World Cup [which ends on March 29, 2015]."

Vettori heads to India at the end of the week to prepare for the IPL auction on February 12.

As recently as November, NZC was craving Vettori's return. Tellingly, the naming of the test team against the West Indies was pushed out to incorporate his Plunket Shield match for Northern Districts against Central Districts. It was just his second first-class match in 16 months and followed a six-wicket haul against Auckland.

Vettori acknowledges New Zealand's success over India, the ODI world champions, will have done wonders for the incumbents' confidence.

"You could not ask for any more from a New Zealand perspective. Ross [Taylor] and Kane [Williamson] led the way with a dream series backed by a strong bowling and fielding unit."

The emergence of leg spinner Ish Sodhi in tests and consolidation of Nathan McCullum in limited overs matches means the talent pool is deepening. Sodhi faces his biggest challenge against India but a promising start to his test career and his contribution of five for 29 to help ND dismiss Canterbury on Sunday aided his cause. McCullum bowled 46 overs in the Indian ODI series. He took only two wickets but created pressure going at just 4.56 an over, a Vettori-like quality sought for the World Cup.

- NZ Herald

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