A tribute to Daniel Vettori on his 38th birthday

Vettori is one of the greats of New Zealand cricket

Daniel Vettori, one of the greatest players to have ever represented New Zealand cricket turns 38 on January 27th, 2017. During his playing days, he was highly respected for his humbleness and the style of play. A slow left-arm orthodox bowler, not known for prodigious turn but for accuracy and change in pace that brought him a huge amount of success in a career that spanned over 18 years.

He was born in Auckland in the year 1979 to an Italian origin father and a Kiwi mother and holds the distinction of being the first cricketer of Italian descent to don New Zealand colours. He is also one of the very few cricketers who played with spectacles, especially in the modern era.

As he celebrates his 38th birthday, we take a look at some of the highlights of his cricketing career.

#1 Youngest Kiwi to make his debut

He made his international debut in 1997

Vettori made his Test debut for New Zealand in February 1997 against England in Wellington at the age of 18 which made him the youngest player to represent the nation. It was not a merry start for the lefty as his team lost by an innings and 8 runs. He had figures of 98/2 in 34.3 overs in the only innings that the Kiwis bowled; Nasser Hussain being his first victim in international cricket.

Two months later, he made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Christchurch. Again, he did not taste victory as the visitors lost by 6 wickets. Despite the losses, a hero had arrived that took New Zealand cricket to new heights. The world had seen in him the ability to not concede many runs and pick up wickets with consistency.

#2 A smart spinner

Vettori relied on accuracy and variations to pick up wickets

Turning the ball viciously was never his forte, he was more reliant on accuracy. Other successful spinners like Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan were famous for troubling the batsmen with their turning balls but Vettori was more in the league of Anil Kumble, who also did not bowl too many deliveries that turned.

Without the turn, he had several variations in his armoury. He had a nice approach to the crease with a very swift action. The biggest variations were in his trajectory that sometimes deceived the batsmen in flight and foxed them with the quicker arm ball the other times.

The leg before wicket was his most useful mode of picking wickets which is due to his impressive accuracy.

#3 A telling record

The spinner picked up 362 wickets

Playing for close to two decades, Vettori earned several records. He is the second highest wicket-taker in Test cricket for New Zealand with 362 wickets, behind Sir Richard Hadlee. In ODI cricket, he is in pole position in terms of the wickets for his country with 305 wickets. Overall, he is the all-time highest wicket-taker for the Kiwis with 705 wickets across all formats and 22 five-wicket hauls.

He is also the most capped cricketer for the Kiwis in Tests as well as ODIs with 113 and 295 matches respectively. The numbers suggest that he is the most successful left-arm spinner to have played the game of cricket.

#4 Rise in batting

He was a useful batsman, scoring 4531 runs in Tests

Initially, he was a spinner who could bat a bit but in the years that passed, he did well in the batting department too. He became a stubborn batsman who put a price on his wicket. He scored 4531 runs in 174 innings of Tests with an average of 30.01 which improved in the latter part of his career. He also has 6 centuries and 23 half-centuries, which is a tremendous record for someone who batted in the lower order.

There was a time when the New Zealand side was going through a transition, Vettori had become a top batsman and had promoted himself up the order as well at times. He is the eighth player in the Test history to do a double of 300 wickets and 3000 runs in Tests. He also has 2253 runs with 4 fifties to his record in ODIs.

#5 Captaincy stint and retirement

He was appointed captain in 2007

When Stephen Fleming left the captaincy position of New Zealand team after the 2007 ODI World Cup, Vettori was handed over the responsibility to lead the side and went on to become the captain in all three formats. He led the team in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa.

He was also the captain of the side in the 2011 ODI World Cup that was held in the subcontinent. It was after the tournament that he resigned as the captain and also announced his retirement from ODIs and T20s. He was again called back in the 2013 Champions Trophy and went on to play till the 2015 ODI World Cup. He finally bid goodbye to international cricket post the final match of the tournament in which New Zealand lost to Australia.

Post-retirement, he has still been involved with the game in the role of a coach. He has coached sides like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Brisbane Heat, and Middlesex.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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