DateLine: 28th April 2009
Daniel Vettori, the youngest man to play Test cricket for New Zealand, at the age of 18, sits beside Richard Hadlee and Chris Cairns as New Zealanders to take 200 Test wickets and score 2000 runs. With time on his side, he could one day creep up towards Hadlee's 431 Test dismissals, but to do that Vettori would need to avoid the stress fractures in his back that troubled him earlier in his career. He also could not afford another form slump like the one he suffered in 2003-04. He returned to his best, though, and his mastery of drift and subtle variations in flight, speed and length earned him a reputation as New Zealand's most dangerous player. He troubled Australia with 12 for 149 at Eden Park in March 2000, giving him his first ten-wicket Test. He continued to peak whenever he faced Australia and also feasted against Bangladesh in 2004, taking 20 for 224 in the two-match rout. He was recognised alongside Muttiah Muralitharan as one of the best spinners outside Australia for the Super Series in 2005-06, and was one of six players to represent the World XI in the Test and all three one-dayers. A handy lower-order batsman, he has scored Test centuries, and his record as leader was superb whenever Stephen Fleming was unavailable.
Fleming stepped down from the limited-overs captaincy after the World Cup and Vettori was installed as skipper for the Twenty20 World Championship. He was then appointed as New Zealand's long-term leader when took over from Fleming as the Test captain ahead of their two-Test tour of South Africa. However, retirements and the ICL saw New Zealand slip in the world rankings and Vettori was saddled with more responsibilities than he could have imagined. Positive results, especially in Tests, were hard to come by but it didn't affect Vettori's form and on many occasions his lower-order batting, at No. 8, has come to the rescue.
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