Well Played Mr. Vettori

26 03 2010

Dan Vettori: 100's Up!

A word of praise now for a man who, almost single handedly, has ensured New Zealand cricket has remained competitive over the past decade and more.

That man is of course Daniel Vettori and he will tomorrow make his 100th appearance in test cricket. Only 31 still, he made his debut as a callow 18 year old with only a couple of first class games behind him against England in 1997. Barring a couple of injury enforced absences he has been first name on the team sheet ever since and, incredibly, his record is just getting better and better.

Beginning his career as a bowler who chipped in with the bat, he has blossomed into arguably the premier all rounder in world cricket. If you consider that since 2003 he has scored over 3000 runs at an average of above 42 with 5 hundreds, mostly from the number 8 batting position.

It is not so much the weight of these runs that is important to the Kiwi’s but the times at which he gets them. Being perennially one of the weaker sides in world cricket, they display all the usual symptoms of such sides*. Typically what happens in a New Zealand innings is that numbers 7 and 8 in the batting lineup come to the crease with not many runs on the board, but still proceed to take them to 300 plus. Vettori is an expert in this field as his record attests and between him, McCullum and Oram many a total collapse has been averted.

His bowling has remained strong throughout and to date he has taken 319 wickets at a respectable average of 33, this figure though is decreasing with every game. Consider also that half of Vettori’s appearances have been at home on non spin friendly pitches and that his record against Australia is excellent and you begin to get the measure of his efforts.

On top of all this Vettori has proved to be worthy successor to Stephen Fleming in the captaincy role. Incredibly in the period following Andy Moles departure last year, he also assumed the roles of Selector and Playing Coach, meaning that he must be the most influential cricketer within a national set up since Imran Khan for Pakistan.

Vettori is still a young man and providing he is lucky with injuries, there is no reason why he cannot play for another 5 years, in the process passing Hadlee’s record of 431 test wickets.

*A more extreme version of this can be seen with Bangladesh. Typically here every batsman will score between 15 and 40 ensuring a total of around 200 all out. The Compulsive Hooker has sometimes felt that if you simply reversed the batting order the total’s achieved would often be the same……

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