Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has defended the national selectors’ decision to include veteran all-rounder Daniel Vettori in the squad for the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah.
McCullum noted that Vettori was called up since New Zealand needed a third spinner for the final Test.
“We think using three spinners, and Dan being the third one, the workload won’t be overly excessive for him,” McCullum said. “Obviously with a view to the World Cup, we don’t want to break him in a one-off Test match situation but we think we can certainly manage him through that.”
While the news of Vettori’s potential Test comeback came as a major shock to the cricketing community, McCullum stated that the team management have been in touch with the left-arm spinner for quite some time now.
“We looked at the balance of our team and worked out that a spinning all-rounder will also be quite handy in that No. 6 position,” McCullum said. “You start to think of the guys who would be suited to that and really, there was one guy who stood out and knowing that he was coming over for the one-day series, knowing he was going to be here in these conditions and seeing how fit and strong he is, which is another important point for us. His fitness is at a level at which he’s comfortable, he thinks he can operate in this Test match.”
Even though Vettori hasn’t played Test cricket since July 2012, McCullum doesn’t believe that picking him was a major gamble.
“Some people probably look at it and say it’s a big risk but from the discussions that Dan and I have had and Mike and some of the other guys who were obviously involved in the decision is that we look at what could go right versus what could go wrong and Dan’s an optimist as well and he’s excited about the opportunity,” he said.
If Vettori plays in the third Test against Pakistan, he will surpass former captain Stephen Fleming to become New Zealand’s most capped Test player.
“We are really excited about it, it’s obviously a huge moment for Dan but also for New Zealand cricket,” McCullum said. “He is currently the most capped player with Stephen Fleming. To own that outright is a tremendous achievement and one that we are all proud of.”