Well nobody saw that coming. It appears as if Daniel Vettori is set to be called into the New Zealand cricket team to play Pakistan in the final test starting tomorrow.
Pitch conditions, and the fact he is in the area playing 50 over matches, and the pitch in Sharjah is barren, means his call-up is being tautologously described as a “one-off unique situation”.
Until now, the focus around Vettori this season has been around whether he will be fit enough to partake in next year’s World Cup. His ODIs against South Africa in October showed that slipping back into bowling in that format of the game was never going to be an issue.
He has always appeared to be running into the wind, up a slight slope, and through thick grass. Things appeared to have got winder, the slope was steeper, and the grass had grown. Being asked to bowl upwards of 20 overs a day in the Arabian heat will be a huge leap.
The other expected side-effect from his long time away from the game was that he’s lost the form with the bat that had become such an important part of his game. This makes his likely batting position of #7 risky. But that is what you get when you’re chasing a series. It is a bold call; let’s hope he gets the test send-off he deserves.
Vettori will become New Zealand’s most capped player. Technically, he already holds that record by virtue of that test for the World XI, but that just confuses things
By the time the test is complete his test career will have spanned 17 years and 297 days. This will be the second longest test career for a New Zealand player behind Bert Sutcliffe.
Vettori has six test centuries. Half of those are against Pakistan.
Seven of the starting XI will be Northern Districts. This equals the NZ record, provided by the same
province Association, in South Africa in 1994.
The chain between New Zealand’s first and last tests (84 years) reverts to six players. Vettori > Dipak Patel > Richard Hadlee > Bevan Congdon > John R Reid > Martin Donnelly > Alby Roberts
This will be a rare occurrence of a New Zealand side playing three front-line spin bowlers. The last instance was Priest, Vettori, Wiseman against Sri Lanka in 1998.
From Priest to Sodhi; that’s a good way of describing Vettori’s longevity.