Monday, November 23, 2009

Vettori: Bowlers will have to step up

The retirement of Jacob Oram means New Zealand cannot afford passengers, according to captain Daniel Vettori.

The injury-prone all-rounder has been a strong performer in both disciplines for the Black Caps but announced his retirement from the five-day game last month.

That means New Zealand will head into tomorrow's first Test against Pakistan with six specialist batsmen, wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, spinner Vettori and three seamers.
"You want to perform in all disciplines," said Vettori. "I think there's going to be a focus on the batting but when you're going in with four bowlers, you want to make sure all four step up.

"In the past we've probably had a bit of a luxury with the all-rounder but this time round everyone has to step up and do their job.

"That's going to be the key throughout the summer, that we get players performing at the right times."

Vettori, who took a blow on the elbow in the nets yesterday, admitted he himself is not fully fit.

"I wouldn't say fully, but I'll be fine," he said. Nevertheless, Vettori wants the specialist bowlers to do all the bowling, especially as part-timer Grant Elliott has been carrying a knee injury.

"In a desperate situation we could call on him, but we'd rather not," said Vettori. "We'd rather stick to the four bowlers.

"It probably means an increased workload for me in particular, but I think that's a good thing.

"We have to be honest and acknowledge that our batting hasn't been as good as we'd like but I've seen some really good improvements in some of the guys.

"Now we go into a Test match with six batters and their role is to bat. None of them have to worry about bowling so hopefully them, combined with Brendon and myself, can get the job done."

Vettori expects a tough challenge from a Pakistan side somewhat out of practise because of the security concerns which have limited international sport in the country.

"They're a dangerous side," he said. "They've got a very balanced bowling line-up and they've got one of the greatest batsmen of the modern generation in Mohammed Yousuf, so when you put that together that's a useful side."

The series will use the controversial referral system and Vettori admitted to mixed feelings about the innovation.

He said: "It's a difficult one. I played a long time with no referral system and had no issues. I've seen it work well and I've seen it work badly.

"Hopefully we can get it to where it becomes an instrument to get rid of bad decisions and nothing more."

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