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Vettori withdrawal gives NZ problems for South Africa Test

672   //    06 Dec 2012, 08:53 IST
In bad news for those who bet on cricket, Daniel Vettori looks increasingly unlikely to play any part in New Zealand’s Test series against South Africa in the new year after his Big Bash League franchise confirmed he had suffered another injury setback. BBL side Brisbane Heat revealed on Wednesday that their spinner aggravated an injury and will be out of action for another six weeks, putting his place in the NZ Test side in serious doubt.

“Dan had a setback over the weekend and despite his best efforts, he is highly unlikely to be ready in time for our matches,” Heat general manager, Andrew Blucher revealed.

The news is likely to disappoint fans in the betting world, for Vettori has made numerous withdraws this autumn after failing to recover from Achilles and Hernia problems. He also suffered a groin injury in July, over which time New Zealand have fallen to India and drawn with Sri Lanka.

So with Vettori as good as out of New Zealand’s Test squad, decisions must now be taken on who will spin the ball for the Black Caps in January.

Thirty-two-year-old Jeetan Patel is expected to continue his run in the side as replacement, yet many NZ fans in the betting world are concerned Patel cannot meet the required standard. Patel bowled in New Zealand’s series against Sri Lanka and took just four wickets from four innings; he is a year younger than Vettori yet has just 17 Tests to his name. Vettori has 112 international caps.

Maybe New Zealand selectors should think afresh and go with reserve spinner Todd Astle. At 26, Astle is hardly an up-and-coming youngster and his only Test appearance, against Sri Lanka in Colombo, yielded just one wicket for 77 runs.

Yet, Astle is something new and New Zealand should be looking at for the South Africa Test in effort to instil some spark into this flickering side. The leg-breaker still has time on his side to develop into a seasoned Test spinner and if Vettori’s injuries continue, New Zealand may come to rely on Astle over the next five years.

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