ICC Champions Trophy

Kiwis can cope without Vettori

2013-06-06 18:11
Daniel Vettori (AFP)
Nottingham - New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has insisted his side can cope without veteran bowler Daniel Vettori as they bid to win the Champions Trophy tournament in the United Kingdom.

The Black Caps had hoped left-arm spinner Vettori would return from a lengthy injury lay-off during their 2-1 one-day series win over England, concluded at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground on Wednesday.

But doubts over the 34-year-old former captain's fitness after he aggravated a longstanding Achilles problem saw him miss the three-match series.

And Hesson admits it would now be a "calculated risk" were Vettori to be selected for New Zealand's first match of the Champions Trophy, a one-day international tournament featuring the world's top eight 50-over teams, against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Sunday.

"It's looking promising, I don't want to get too excited," Hesson told reporters at New Zealand's team hotel in Nottingham on Wednesday.

"We will see how he trains on Friday, with the hope of playing him against Sri Lanka.

"We are taking a risk in terms of the lack of match play. He's only really played a club game (in England) but obviously he's got loads of experience and he's in decent nick. He's been training with us for the last few days. If we do (play him against Sri Lanka), it would be a calculated risk, obviously."

Vettori has appeared in 272 one-day internationals for New Zealand, taking 282 wickets at an average of just over 31 apiece.

"He's not vital, we've won two away series without Dan but we are certainly a better side with Dan in it," said Hesson.

In Vettori's absence, off-spinner Nathan McCullum has proved a more than able deputy as New Zealand's specialist one-day slow bowler, playing an important role in this year's series wins in South Africa and England.

"I think the way Nathan has performed in those two series is a testament to him but the experience of Dan in key games would be great to have," Hesson said.

"We'd only replace Dan if we felt he was unable to take any part in the tournament. He's great to have around. He's quite a calming influence, plenty of experience, just talks to players, not imposing and hugely influential in terms of his experience and knowledge of playing in England."

New Zealand seamer Tim Southee wasn't at his best at Trent Bridge, his nine wicketless overs costing 65 runs as England returned to winning ways with a 34-run victory that prevented a series whitewash.

Hesson said Southee was just feeling the effects of having being a key figure in both New Zealand's Test and one-day attacks this tour.

"He's obviously had a large workload. It's just being careful. We've got an opportunity to have a decent break at the end of this tour," said Hesson.

"We've got to make sure we use Tim wisely in the next few weeks then he can have a decent break. He's a top bowler for us."


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