Daniel Vettori's return to cricket has been delayed even further with the left-arm spinner absent for Northern Districts' HRV Cup Twenty20 match against Otago at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Friday.

Vettori hasn't played since the Twenty20 world championship in late September and had been targeting a return to the field for Northern in time to play for the Black Caps in their upcoming test matches against South Africa next month.

The 33-year-old won't take any part in the tour to the Republic and it remains to be seen when he will recover from his Achilles problem to be back on the field.

Vettori's next potential international assignment could be against England when they tour New Zealand in February and March.


Tim Southee and Kane Williamson will play their first match for Northern Districts this season and fellow international Daniel Flynn will also play against Otago on Friday.

Northern will be without import James Foster, however, who returned to England for personal reasons. The Knights are optimistic he might return before Christmas for their Boxing Day clash with the Auckland and will confirm their playing squad tomorrow.